Choosing who will administer your estate is among the more difficult decisions you will make when drafting your will. However, it is also one of the most important, because it will determine how quickly your estate is distributed, as well as how well everyone gets along during the process.

You will want to choose someone who is, foremost, honest, who will follow your wishes. You will also want someone who will not deliberately antagonize the beneficiaries. Picking one child who doesn’t get along at all with the others will not help anything; nor will picking all of your children to work together, if they don’t get along. You will also, ideally, want someone who lives in your jurisdiction; many places restrict an executor’s ability to act if they are not local. In Ontario, for example, if the executor lives outside of the province, a judge can order the executor to maintain a bond, which can be prohibitively expensive.

Remember that being an executor is a hard job; it is not an honour, and you do not have to pick someone to avoid hurt feelings. Who you pick can seriously affect what you end up leaving to your loved ones. Choose wisely.