Naming an executor to handle your estate is no small decision. It requires forethought and clear-eyed objectivity to find someone you trust. After all, this person will manage the collection and distribution of your assets, settle your debts and liabilities, file tax returns and much more. It’s a demanding job!

But before you call it a done deal, there’s one more thing to consider: compassion. Because an executor’s job is so demanding (and often primarily a labour of love), it can be a profound act of generosity to plan for them as much as possible while still alive. 

Below, explore a few ways to make an executor’s job easier.

Leave Your Documents in an Accessible Spot

Let’s start with a simple way to help your future executor: organizing and isolating your important documents. We say “simple” instead of “low-effort” because estate planning takes time and patience. These documents include (but aren’t limited to):

  • An updated will (more on that in a moment)
  • Birth certificate and marriage certificate (as well as divorce certificate and/or spousal death certificate, if applicable)
  • Bank statements and brokerage statements
  • Insurance policies
  • Retirement benefits paperwork
  • And much more

Keep these documents in an accessible, safe spot with clear instructions for how the executor can reach them.

Introduce Your Executor to Professionals (and Earmark Funds for Services)

In addition to the paperwork above, you may also leave your executor contacts for professionals like personal lawyers, investment advisors, accountants, etc.

Likewise, consider introducing your executor to valuable professionals that can help shoulder the weight of estate administration. At the top of this list, consider estate cleanout services from NEATSPACES – a compassionate service that helps executors empty the contents of an estate property and prepare it for sale.

Hire a Decluttering Service

In fact, there’s no need to wait until after you pass away to clean the estate. You can do your executor a significant favour now by hiring a decluttering service to organize your belongings. Professional decluttering services, like the one linked above, will help you organize your current belongings according to “keep,” “sell,” “donate,” and “discard” piles. They will advise on how best to sell items – whether by consignment, auction, online sale, etc. – so you can extract the maximum value for your sold belongings.

Not only will this process aid your future executor, but it can help you raise funds for end-of-life costs, probate fees, documentation expenses and more.

Keep a Current, Thorough Will

One of the best things you can do for a future executor is to keep a will that accurately reflects your wishes and assets. Without an updated will, your executor may have to leap through several legal hoops to protect your assets and beneficiaries.

If you have recently experienced a life change or simply haven’t dusted off your will in a while, it’s best practice to revisit and revise. These life changes might be as small as an increase in property value or as significant as having a new grandchild in the family.

By organizing your documents, decluttering your home, keeping a current will and leaving a list of trustworthy professionals, you can greatly assist your executor through a challenging process.

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