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executor; how to choose; last will and testament

Creating an estate plan is a vital first step to long-term peace of mind. However, no matter how thorough your estate plan is, one of the most important aspects is choosing the right person to carry out your final wishes. It can be challenging to pick an executor who is organized enough to file paperwork on time and diplomatic enough to handle potentially volatile family relationships.

An executor is the person appointed in the Last Will and Testament to manage the deceased estate, deal with the court, pay any outstanding debts, collect assets, and distribute the assets of the estate according to the provisions of the will. This person essentially becomes a personal representative of the deceased. The executor is administrator, distributor, and potentially peacemaker in the execution of your estate plan.

Family members and friends who have demonstrated that they are conscientious, honest, trustworthy, and good with people are the best candidates. The position also requires maturity. The executor can always hire an accountant or lawyer if the need arises. You may also want to consider where your executor lives as an executor may need to spend a significant amount of time working with the courts in the area where the deceased’s lived. Outside professional executors are easy to find, but remember that they work for a fee.