The executor of your estate is the person who is entrusted to follow your wishes, settle your debts and distribute your remaining assets to your heirs. They’ve got a big job ahead of them when you die. Most people pick their spouses or adult children to be their executors.

So what do you do when you’re happily unmarried and permanently childless? Who else can serve? Here are some options to consider when choosing an executor:

  1. Do you have any other close relatives? Maybe you have a favorite niece who lives in the area or a younger sibling with whom you are close. If you trust them to adhere to your directives and you reasonably expect them to outlive you, there’s nothing wrong with selecting that person to handle your estate (as long as they are willing).
  2. Do you have any close friends? Maybe you have always valued the people you choose to have in your life over the people to whom you happen to be related. If so, one of your close friends may be the best choice as your executor.
  3. Should you choose an attorney, accountant or financial advisor? This might be appropriate if you have a longstanding relationship with that person and you think that they would be the best person to handle the job. However, that’s not something they may be willing to do, especially if they have any conflicts of interest.
  4. Should you consider a professional fiduciary? There are banks and companies that will administer an estate for a fee. That may be a good option if you have a lot of assets that need to be invested and managed.

Don’t let the lack of an obvious choice for an executor stop you from developing your estate plan. Talk the situation over with your attorney and explore your options. You may be surprised at the potential solutions.