If you are about to have your will drafted, you will need to choose someone to be your Executor. Depending upon the situation, you may also need to choose someone to be a Trustee of a trust, or be a Guardian to your minor children.
The same person may serve in all of these roles, or there may be two or three different people chosen by you.
It is a very good idea to approach the person first and discuss the situation with him/her. Acting in any (or all) of those roles is a big responsibility and one which should be a choice. Your whole purpose in advanced planning is to specify your wishes and prevent uncertainty, conflict or panic later on. You do not want an executor, guardian or trustee to be surprised by the choice or accept the role out of guilt.
Here are some tips on how to approach the subject:
- Choose a time when you can speak to the person and not be interrupted. Face-to-face is good, but by video chat or telephone will work too;
- Be open and honest about why you chose them;
- Be open and honest about any challenges they may face (for instance, if they can expect conflict among the beneficiaries or hurt feelings from someone who wasn’t chosen for this role);
- Offer to allow them to think about it and don’t rush them unless you have a reason why you must sign your document immediately, such as health issues, or travel;
- Encourage them to ask questions and voice concerns;
- Consider having a “co” (Executor, Guardian or trustee) if they want the job but don’t want to do it alone;
- Have alternates for each of these positions when possible, and have the same talk with them.