Posted By Paul
Having had a recent experience with estate planning I thought I would pass on something that I learned from the experience.
A friend of a friend recently had a relative pass away. The relative had had a healthy long life, and had left behind some very clear estate planning.
The only downside was that the relative had listed a person as their executor that now lived overseas. It was difficult to locate and contact this person and created a lot of hassle.
Luckily they listed several alternate executors, but one issue they had was that they chose people that were about the same age as them or older. It makes sense that you would choose peers to be your executor candidates, but the problem came up that since the relative had lived such a long life the other candidates were all quite up there in years and didn't feel up to handling the role.
There were a few aspects of the estate that needed to be resolved quickly. The process of tracking down the overseas candidate, and getting the paperwork for them to decline the role took quite a while. Luckily the other candidates were easier to find, but when it was discovered that they didn't want to serve as executor it took additional time to get THEIR paperwork handled and then ultimately find someone to take over the role. Ultimately it all got resolved, but it ended up being a significant hassle.
My advice? Definitely list several candidates to serve as your executor, and try to update your estate documents accordingly if someone moves overseas or has some other event that would make them unable to serve in the role. Also be sure to let your executor candidates know that they are listed in your estate planning so that they can let you know if for any reason they no longer want to serve in that capacity.
Also I think that it's practical to have at least one executor candidate who is significantly younger than you, to avoid the situation where all of your candidates are in a place in their life where the hassle of handling an estate is too much.
Once my son is an adult I plan on making him an executor candidate, and hopefully I'll keep my estate planning up to date in case something happens that makes an executor candidate no longer able to do the job.