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What should I take into consideration when choosing an executor for my estate?

Whoever you chose to be the executor of your estate should be a trustworthy person with good judgement and the willingness and ability to handle the time-consuming tasks involved. The size of your estate and the availability and capability of the individual is also a consideration. If the estate is small, your surviving spouse can be the sole executor provided he or she feels capable of handling what would be involved. If the estate is large it might be advisable to have experts assist your spouse who could be the main executor, or you could rely solely on the services of a professional executor such as a trust company.

The executor can be a spouse, friend, family lawyer, accountant or a professional financial institution. The advantages of the first two are potentially lower administration fees and greater flexibility. The advantages of the last three are greater expertise and consistency over time while avoiding imposing a burden on any particular individual. There should always be alternative executors chosen in the event that the original executor dies or is unable to fulfill their duties. The compensation for the administration of an estate can be determined before death. If this is to be done and the beneficiaries are unable to agree as to compensation, the courts will make this determination.