choosing an executor

The best way to begin the task of choosing an Executor is not necessarily to look for a family member you trust the most. Rather begin with looking at the job of an Executor, whether volunteer or paid. Below is a list of tasks that are usually expected of the Executor, depending upon the scope of the estate.

  1. Determine what assets are in the estate. That may include bank accounts, retirement funds, physical properties—including home, vacation and investment properties, cars, boats, planes, insurance policies and business holdings.
  2. Discover who the heirs are and obtain detailed contact information for each one.
  3. Contact the Estate Attorney if designated by the deceased. The Executor will, in any case, need the services of an attorney to begin the probate process.
  4. Pay any bills owed, including medical expenses, funeral services, and taxes.
  5. Distribute the estate to the beneficiaries according to the will. This sometimes includes selling real property in order to distribute the cash proceeds to the heirs.

If someone in the family has the skills, is trustworthy, and is wise enough to seek help when needed, this choice could save money. If, however, there are complex business matters, or if relationships between heirs are strained, it may be better to choose a bank trust department.

Regardless of your choices and plans, let your Executor and heirs know what to expect. It would be a good idea to introduce your heirs to your Estate Planning Attorney, so he or she can explain what is set up.

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Leigh Hilton P.L.L.C