Choosing the right executor: What to look for

by | Jan 30, 2023 | Estate Planning

Choosing the executor for your Florida estate should not be taken lightly. This decision can affect the management and distribution of your assets, so it’s crucial to choose a person who is capable and trustworthy to handle the job.

Essential traits

The following considerations can guide you toward an individual with the right qualities to manage your affairs in a way that serves your estate and beneficiaries while providing you with peace of mind.

  • Trustworthiness. Choose an executor you know you can trust to handle your private affairs with honesty and integrity.
  • Capable and willing. The individual should possess the skills and knowledge to manage your assets and distribute them to your beneficiaries according to the wishes detailed in your estate plan. He or she should also be willing to take on these responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed or burdened.
  • Available. The chosen person needs to have the time to devote to fulfilling his or her executor duties. Depending on various factors, including the complexity and size of your estate and the number of beneficiaries, the job can involve a great deal of work and responsibility.
  • Positive financial standing. An executor must have suitable finances with no liens, excessive debt, bankruptcies or lack of credit history. Many courts require the executor to become bonded as insurance to pay your beneficiaries if the executor disappears with your assets. People with a poor financial history will not be eligible for a bond, and the court will ask you to choose a new executor.
  • Neutral party. Sibling and other rivalries can last a lifetime, which creates problems if one of these individuals is the executor. Issues of unfair treatment, mean behavior and other problems put your estate at risk and can prevent some of your beneficiaries from receiving what you intended for them. You can have co-executors and try to force two people to get along, but the most successful strategy is to name an executor outside the sphere of any drama.
  • Properly qualified. The previous points described the positive attributes to look for in an executor. There are some qualities to avoid, such as choosing an executor who is elderly and may not survive long enough to fulfill his or her duties. You can name a younger, secondary executor to prevent this issue.

Additionally, if your chosen executor is a non-U.S. citizen or a minor, the court will not allow this individual to be your executor and will provide a court-chosen replacement. Likewise, if your chosen executor is a former felon, he or she is also disqualified from the position, and the court will appoint a new executor.

Now is the time to consider your choice for an executor who can properly and reliably manage your estate affairs.


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