If you are finally tackling your estate plan, good for you. You are taking the first step towards protecting your legacy for future generations. One question that might be running through your mind is whom you should choose as the executor of your estate. This is an important decision that should not be made lightly.

An executor is responsible for managing your estate after you die. The person you choose will settle your debts and financial affairs and ensure your assets are distributed in accordance with your final wishes. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an estate executor:

Know your options

Many people do not realize they do not have to choose a relative or their spouse as their executor; you have the option of choosing anyone you believe is trustworthy and responsible enough to handle the responsibility. You may also want to look into having a third party, such as a professional, bank or trust company, to serve as your estate’s executor if you do not feel comfortable or confident in your loved ones’ abilities.

Name alternative executors

You might not feel the need to name additional people as backup executors of your estate. However, it is a critical aspect that many individuals neglect. You must consider the possibility of your original choice for executor not being able to administer your estate. A number of things could happen that may require an alternative executor to step up and take over the duties. For example, if your original executor starts a new job and no longer has the time to dedicate to your estate, the next person or entity you have listed as executor can take over.

It can be important for you to choose executors for your estate sooner rather than later. Make sure the person or entity you choose is one whom you trust implicitly. Be sure to inform your chosen executors of your decision so any issues that might interfere with them being able to commit to the honor are known and resolved.