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Help your executor do a good job managing your final affairs

The individual you choose to manage your final affairs might be your spouse, another relative or even a close friend. Give it some thought. You should prepare a list of requirements for the person you eventually name in your will.

Once the perfect candidate is chosen—your nephew Fred, for example—you still have some work to do: You need to make it as easy as possible for him to serve as your executor.

First steps

In terms of your requirements for executor, your nephew fits the bill on all fronts. He is trustworthy, possesses common sense and has a good head for finances, yet knows when to ask for help. He also satisfies one other requirement: Fred is a couple of decades younger than you are and is therefore likely to be around to act on your behalf.

Smoothing the way

Be sure that you keep your nephew informed of the whereabouts of important papers, such as your will. Fred will need a copy for the probate court, and he should file that soon after your death. Other important items would include insurance documents, investment accounts, real estate documents and anything pertaining to business or partnership interests. Once Fred has a copy of the will, he will know how complex his job as executor will be.

A detailed accounting

If you keep an accounting of your monthly income and expenses, your nephew will not have to spend a lot of time figuring out your finances. Ensure that Fred can locate your checkbook and savings account information, and do not forget to provide passwords and any accompanying information so that he can access your emails, if necessary, and any digital accounts that will be important. Fred should be able to open a bank account in the name of the estate, which he can use to accept deposits and pay bills.

Seeking help

Your nephew will want to wind up your affairs and make distributions to your heirs in a timely manner, but remind him to seek legal help when necessary so as to avoid any missteps. Any assistance you can give to Fred during your lifetime will help him carry out his duties effectively and confirm your good judgment in naming him as your executor.