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Choosing the right executor can ease estate administration

While going through the process of estate planning, people generally take time to consider the most important people and organizations in their lives. Once this assessment is made, it may become clear how assets and property will be distributed during estate administration.

In an effort to create a thoughtful list of beneficiaries, a person may not immediately consider an equally important aspect of estate planning: choosing an executor. This role is incredibly important, as the executor is responsible for collecting assets, notifying beneficiaries, paying necessary taxes and ensuring that all assets and property are distributed according to plan.

Knowing how much responsibility is involved with estate administration, it's important to keep a few things in mind when selecting an executor. One estate planning observer indicates that the following items should be considered while making a choice:

  • Trustworthiness: An executor should be someone who can be trusted. After all, no one wants to worry about their assets being mishandled.
  • Willingness: If the job is unexpectedly sprung upon someone, he or she might be unprepared. This might be especially true for family members dealing with the emotional aspects of loss.
  • Family: Spouses are often one of the first people considered to be an executor. Of course, having a conversation with the spouse is important to make sure feelings aren't hurt and he or she is ready for the responsibility.
  • Qualifications: There aren't any necessary qualifications to be an executor. Arrangements can be made to have an attorney assist with tasks related to estate administration.

For some people, deciding who will be executor might be easy. Whatever the case, covering all the bases involved in estate planning can make administration a much simpler and less stressful experience for everyone involved -- executors, trustees and beneficiaries included.

Source: Daily Finance, "Who Should You Ask to Be Executor of Your Estate?" Michele Lerner, Oct. 13, 2013

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