If you live in Michigan and have created an estate plan such as a will or a trust, you are already a step ahead of many. While estate plans are common among the elderly, the truth is that everyone can benefit from having their affairs in order because no one can predict when death, illness or serious injury will come. One of the most important parts of your estate plan is choosing a trustee or executor.

AARP suggests that you do not need to use a financial advisor or planner, but just someone with good common sense and instincts. As long as the person you choose is not afraid to ask for help or do some research and you trust them, they are probably a good choice for executor.

You also want to choose someone who is young enough that they will be around after you die to handle your estate. When choosing, consider the health and age of the person you are considering. Disabilities, distance and death can often be problems when it comes to choosing an executor, but you can get past those by naming a back-up.

When choosing an executor, the goal is to avoid family conflict rather than being fair if you choose family members or children. If you name a team of executors, difficult decisions do not all fall onto the shoulders of one person. As you consider who you will choose, be aware of any tension between members of the family.

Finally, check back every few years to see if your executor needs to be updated. It is easy to forget about things like your estate plan in everyday life, but occurrences like divorce, death and changing relationships can greatly affect your estate is they are not addressed.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.