Having an estate plan is a great start to protecting your assets and the well-being of those you care about. However, choosing someone to be your executor is equally as important if you want to guarantee that your plan unfolds the way you envision.

Thinking carefully about your legacy, your end-of-life desires and your estate planning strategy can help you determine who would be the best fit to oversee the execution of your plan.

The value of sincerity

Keep in mind that your executor will work directly with your surviving family members. He or she will oversee the logistics of distributing your assets. Chances are you want someone who will show sincerity, empathy and compassion toward your family. According to The Washington Post, pick someone who can foster harmony and unify your family.

You may consider talking to your executor about the legacy you wish to leave behind. Discuss the characteristics that you find most important. This conversation and your interactions with your executor may help you to feel added confidence in his or her ability to preserve the best interests of your surviving family members.

The need for experience

You will also want to choose someone who has demonstrated an understanding of principles including money management, organization and timeliness. You will want a proactive executor who understands his or her responsibilities and under which conditions to act.

If you ever feel that life changes or relationship differences have created the need to replace your executor, make the switch formal and update your estate plan. Neglecting to make a formal change could make it so your original choice still stands even though you changed your mind later on.