There are a number of important qualifications a good executor should have. While just about any person in New Jersey can serve as an executor, picking someone who is honest and effective is essential to making sure your estate wishes are honored. However, your estate wishes may still be thwarted if your executor candidate, for any reason, cannot take the position upon your passing.

The problem, according to Kiplinger, is that it may take a long time from the moment a will is composed for the document to actually go into effect. Some people draft a will and never change it. This means a person who is in their twenties or thirties can have a will that stays the same for decades, perhaps as long as forty or fifty years. This is a lot of time for things to change, including the status of the executor named in the will.

For one thing, the executor listed in the will may die. This is a possibility especially if an executor is your peer and you live to an old age. A decades-long period is also enough time for an executor candidate to move away, cut ties with you, sustain a disabling injury, or become physically infirm. Any number of life experiences may cause an executor candidate to be unable or unwilling to serve.

Updating a will to change an executor candidate when it is clear the person you have chosen cannot serve is a good way to retain an executor that you want. However, you can also build a safeguard in your will by naming an additional executor that can take over if your first candidate is unavailable. It is a good idea to name a backup executor who is young and healthy, someone who is likely to outlive you.

Some people may wish to specifically name a backup executor, perhaps a relative such as a son or daughter, or a trusted friend. Still, not everyone will be comfortable with even this option, since it is possible to lose a backup executor as well. Individuals can get around this by creating a provision in the will that names multiple people. If you believe your children can collectively serve as executors, it is possible to state that any children who meet a certain threshold can become your co-executors.

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