The most important criteria in my mind is knowledge of your state and federal laws concerning being an executor. Many people think being an executor only means following wills dictates to the word, however, this is not the case. First you will need to evaluate the value of the estate. If the estate is large enough you may have to file both a federal and state return. Then you have to see if there are any outstanding debts (credit cards are the most often missed) but other debts like mortgages (reverse mortgages where equity still remains), car notes, etc. All of the debt holders must be notified. If you cannot find all of the debt holders then usually state law will have rules on how to make public notification via a newspaper. Sometimes due to debts needing to be repaid some of the assets, which were designated to go to certain heirs, needs to be sold to repay the debt. You may need to get court approval to divy up the will "as best you can" in accordance with the will. Lastly, your executor should have a thick skin if a lot of people are listed in the will. For you it might be easier if only you and your sibling are named. However, when more people enter the will the fighting is annoying.