As New Jersey residents and families prepare their estates for end of life issues, it is easy to get overwhelmed, frustrated and even depressed. While those feelings can threaten the desire to have a plan in place, it is vital that you stick with it until your estate plan is in place. One of the most important things you do is choose the executor of your estate, and there are things you should consider before doing so.

According to FindLaw, an executor is defined as someone appointed by the court or in your will who has a legal responsibility to handle any leftover financial obligations you may have. These may include paying taxes or bills on your estate, distributing assets to beneficiaries, maintaining houses or other properties until the settlement or making appearances in court for the estate. Obviously, this person plays an important role in the estate plan.

Almost anyone can be chosen as an executor, but most people go straight to children, siblings or spouses when possible. Executors should be organized, honest and good communicators. Someone without these qualities can quickly create a mess of your will when it is time to distribute.

There are a few limitations on who can be your executor. Felons and people under 18 are not an option. When you choose the right person, it is important that they are notified and aware of the responsibility. Even if they agree while you are alive, they can still decline once you die. Because of this, it is often smart to name alternate executors to avoid any additional hassles or delays with distributing your assets. The more decisions your executor can make, the less the court must make, and the faster your estate is settled.

This information is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.