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Tips on selecting the right executor for your estate

Detroit residents involved in the estate planning process must select an executor to perform a number of important duties related to their wills. Choosing the right person as executor is extremely important, as he or she will ultimately be responsible for carrying out the decedent’s final wishes.

The first step to choosing the right executor is to understand just what the role entails. Forbes describes an executor as an individual that undertakes all essential functions outlined in a will once a person is deceased. These can include taking the will to probate, distributing property and assets to heirs, ensuring taxes are paid and taking appropriate action to make certain that an estate’s assets remain protected. An executor will also be responsible for settling burial/funeral expenses, and sending out copies of the death certificate in order the close out any remaining accounts. These duties can change depending on the exact circumstances, which only underscores just how important the role is the estate planning process.

When choosing an executor, the AARP recommends a few tips to ensure a worthy candidate is at the helm. Age and health are two major considerations. Naming a person of advancing age can be misguided, as this person may not be available or able to undersee the important tasks associated with executing a will. There is the option of selecting a backup executor, who will step in should the first person named be unable to fulfill his or her duties.

Staying in touch with an executor is also highly important. Many set estate plans in motions without undertaking important reviews/revisions necessary as time goes on. Review should occur every few years, or in accordance with major life changes (such as divorce). This will provide the opportunity to change any out of date information, or name a new executor if necessary. 

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