Quite naturally, you want someone that you trust to serve as the executor of your estate — but being an executor is a big job. It also comes with a number of hazards that your executor may have to face.

Many of these risks, however, can be mitigated with a little advanced planning. Here are the things you should talk over with your chosen executor before you finalize your estate plans:

  1. Is a co-executor needed? Sure, you don’t want to make one of your children feel like they’re left out, but more than one executor can complicate your estate. Multiple executors automatically increase the amount of paperwork that must be handled, as well as increasing the potential for disputes.
  2. Do they have the time to handle the job? It takes a lot of time to close out bank accounts, set up the account for the estate, settle debts, file taxes and do everything that needs to be done to settle an estate. Make sure that your executor can commit.
  3. Do they understand their legal liabilities? If an executor fails to secure your assets, pay your taxes, settle your bills and more, they can end up being held personally responsible for the financial mistakes. Make sure that your executor knows this.
  4. Can they handle your heirs? Being an executor can be a thankless job if the heirs are unhappy about something. If you suspect that your executor is going to have to deal with some family drama, make sure they’re able to withstand any firestorms and hold to your will.

Fortunately, your executor doesn’t have to manage things alone. Make sure that your executor understands that it’s okay (and even necessary) to get some experienced assistance with your estate when the time comes.