Drafting a will is a responsible decision. A valid will ensures that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes after you die.
When you have your will drafted, you must appoint an executor. This is a person legally responsible for distributing assets, paying debts and taking care of any other responsibilities associated with the terms of your will.
Traits of a good executor
An executor should be someone you trust with these duties. Being an executor is a hard job, and you need someone with the ability to handle the many tasks and potential complications.
However, you may be in a situation where you have no one to appoint as an executor, or no one that you believe capable of taking on the duties.
This is a more common situation than you think. Many people have no children, spouse or family member willing or able to serve as an executor.
Appointing a charity
Fortunately, there are alternate options to consider. Instead of a person, you can appoint a charity as your executor.
You probably have a cause or two that you believe in and support. You can choose a charity dedicated to that cause to serve as your executor.
Contact the charity first and discuss your plan with them. Confirm that this is something they are willing to do and talk about the goals and plans you have for your executor.
While you can list the charity in your will, it is a good idea to include language saying that they have the right to decline. When it comes time to serve in the role, charity rules may have changed, causing them to no longer be able to serve in the role.
Appointing a professional executor
You can also appoint a professional executor. This is exactly what it sounds like: a person whose job it is to serve as an executor for people. Estate planning attorneys often serve as executors.
As with a charity, discuss your plans with your potential professional executor and confirm they are wiling to do the job.
You should not avoid setting up an estate plan because of the lack of an executor. As you can see, there are options for you, and the right one depends on your specific life situation.