Selecting a Personal Representative (formerly known as an Executor) is one of the most important estate planning decisions you will make. A Personal Representative need not be a member of your family or beneficiary of your estate. In fact, it can be an independent party such as a trusted family friend, attorney, etc. Given the responsibilities of that role, consider these 5 qualities of a good estate Personal Representative in Massachusetts.
1 – Mature
Children and young adults are often not suitable estate Personal Representative (Executor). Maturity comes with age and life experience, both of which are important to managing complex estate matters. Truth be told, some adults may not have the maturity required either. Take an honest look at your candidates for estate Personal Representative (Executor) and ask yourself whether they are mature enough for the responsibility.
2 – Educated
For the same reason as maturity, education is also important. An educated individual is more likely to make sound decisions when it comes to settling your estate. Personal Representatives must file paperwork, provide written notifications, understand banking rules, and much more. An educated person can better understand and perform those tasks on behalf of the estate.
3 – Financially Responsible
Most estates involve money. Mismanagement and abuse of funds should be a real concern, especially if your beneficiaries are young and unlikely to recognize a problem until it’s too late. If someone is known to be financially irresponsible, it’s doubtful they’ll manage your money any better than their own. Make sure your chosen estate Personal Representative (executor) is financially responsible.
4 – Organized & Pays Attention to Detail
Settling an estate can be a big task with many moving parts. It can therefore be helpful to select someone who is well organized and pays attention to detail. An organized person will stay on top of deadlines, assets, debts, and anything else required of them,…making them a good estate Personal Representative (executor). Just as organizational skills can help with getting a job, it should be a requirement in getting the job as your Personal Representative (estate executor).
5 – Trustworthy
Last, but certainly not least, your estate Personal Representative (executor) should be trustworthy. You must trust that they will follow your instructions and comply with your wishes. You must trust that they will not misuse their power or your assets. Choosing a trustworthy Personal Representative (executor) is of utmost important in protecting your estate and your heirs.
Summary of Qualities of a Good Estate Executor in Massachusetts
You’ll notice that we didn’t list being a family member as a quality of a good estate Personal Representative (executor). The fact is, the qualities of the person you select may be far more important than their role in your life. However, this shouldn’t be construed as excluding family members either. Sometimes a family member is the most trustworthy person you can select. Other times, selecting a non-family member makes better sense and avoids the chance that family pressure will impact their decisions. Ultimately, what’s most important is selecting someone with the right qualities rather than focusing on who might expect to receive the role.