One of the most important decisions clients need to make, when preparing their will, is who to choose as Executor of their estate. An Executor is the person who will be responsible for collecting assets, paying taxes and other expenses, and then distributing what is left. If there is a home, the Executor will also take care of selling it, if that is the wish of the testator (the person making the will). The Executor’s role, essentially, is to carry out the stated wishes of the testator.
Usually, if there is a spouse, the testator’s spouse is the primary Executor. If one has children, they are usually next in line. It is usually ill-advised to have more than two Executors acting at the same time, since it is very cumbersome and inefficient to have more than two people having to act together. If a client has two children, it is difficult to choose one over the other, unless one of the children is disabled, irresponsible, or immature; therefore, it is common to name both children. When one has more than two children, it is imperative that one child be designated the primary, with the others as back-up. While many parents choose based on age order, it is usually best to choose the child who is most responsible and least likely to cause or exacerbate family tensions.