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How to choose the right executor for a will | GoodTrust

Jun-30 2021

“An executor decides what happens to all my assets after I pass away.”

A definition that most people would give on the questions of what an executor of a will does. A self-explanatory but also very unspecific answer, that leaves questions about how to choose an executor, their power and limits open. So what exactly is an executor, and how do I choose the right person for the position? Should it be a family member close to me and everyone in my will or should it be a person with a neutral standpoint? 

What is an executor?

Let's start with the basic definition of an executor. They are arguably the most important part of your will, as they follow your wishes in your will and distribute your assets accordingly. They also take care of any outstanding debt related to your estate or issues related to the will and distribution. 

Who should be my executor?

Your executor should be someone you truly trust. It is very common that people choose a special family member or close friend to take care of their last wishes. The executor should be a responsible person with a good financial standing, who is emotionally grounded enough to neutrally handle your wishes. It is advised to ask the person beforehand if they are willing to take on this important position. The executor takes care of all tangible assets like your house, car, jewelry, as well as your bank accounts, paychecks, and taxes.  What is a digital executor?

However, there is a fairly novel aspect to your estate that you may have not taken into consideration yet. What will happen to all your digital assets after you pass away? You spend hours over hours online every day, but what happens to your online inventory after you are gone? Do you want your social media profiles memorized for your close ones, or do you want them taken down from the internet? The so-called ‘Digital Afterlife’  is where the digital executor comes into the picture. Digital executors take care of all your intangible assets and are given the right to manage your online accounts, such as your social media profiles, email accounts, clouds, etc. 

Do I need two executors?

You can choose one trusted person to be your executor for your tangible and intangible assets, or you can split up the tasks. It is important to additionally mention the digital executor and provide them with logins in your will, because otherwise access to these accounts is not guaranteed. There are very easy tools for estate planning that take care of your digital assets and give easy access to the accounts to trusted family members or friends. When utilizing an online estate management service, you can specify what will happen to your individual accounts, without your executor having to take action. Additionally you can memorize and share certain accounts containing valuable content with your loved ones. 

Whether through an online service or a digital executor, giving someone access to your digital afterlife is becoming more and more important. As we are all starting to spend more and more of our lives online, it is essential to not let our digital footprint disappear. 

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