Much of the work you are likely to encounter when setting up your estate is collecting information and making decisions. The planning may, of course, have many technical elements both unique to California, such as probate concerns, and national, such as tax issues. However, it is likely that you would entrust those to financial and legal professionals.

One of the more important decisions to make is choosing the executor of your estate. Whom you select is likely to have a significant impact on the eventual disposition of the assets you have accumulated throughout your lifetime. As such, you may want to select your executor based on your observations and knowledge of the candidate’s personalities rather than characteristics that would likely be unrelated to their effectiveness in this painstaking, detailed process.

The Washington Post recently published an interesting article on the subject of choosing an executor. The article brought up two relevant points:

  • Successful people may not be the most organized managers
  • Your oldest children may not be the most mature

The post suggests that, rather than taking into account a person’s familial status or their career, that you try to predict who would be the best option for managing your estate. Examples of desirable qualities might include being liked by the entire family, being sensible with money or having a tolerance for extended, bureaucratic processes.

It is usually best that your final choices be at least partially motivated by considerations that would directly affect the process of executing an estate. However, you should have a detailed review of your case from a legal perspective before you make any decisions. This is not legal advice. Please only think of it as background information.