When you are preparing your will, choosing your executor will be a top priority. Right away, you may think about naming your spouse for the task, but is this a good idea?

There are several points to consider about the person you choose, and attributes you might admire in a relative or good friend will likely play a role in your final decision.

The duties of an executor

Your executor will be responsible for seeing that your wishes are carried out as you instruct in your will. He or she will ensure the proper protection and ultimate distribution of your assets. The executor will also pay your final debts and taxes out of the estate.

The executor candidates

The duties of an executor are similar to those of a chief administrator, and the person you select must be someone you trust implicitly. Your top candidate might be an individual with a sound business sense who is not put off by forms and other types of paperwork. Some people make the mistake of choosing someone who is older and more experienced, but an older person may not survive you. Be sure to choose someone who is in good health, who is younger than you are and who will be around to serve in the executor capacity. Keep in mind that common sense will be a good attribute for your executor to have. In the administration of your estate, he or she should know when to ask for guidance from a professional. For example, an accountant can advise on taxes while an attorney will be able to provide guidance on all legal matters and ensure that your executor avoids any missteps.

The help you provide

Once you have chosen your executor and that person has agreed to serve, you can make his or her job easier by providing a detailed list of your assets and their locations. Once in possession of your will and other important documents, your chief administrator will have a good idea of the complexity of the job ahead. He or she will appreciate any help you can give in advance.