The first thing that most people consider when they start to plan their estate is their will, and this is of course a very important component. Deciding exactly how you would like to see your assets passed on to your heirs can indeed be challenging, but that is not the only thing that you have to consider when drawing up your will. You also have to appoint someone to be the executor of your estate, and this person is going to have a significant amount of work to do in your behalf.
Upon your passing the executor has to “open” the estate by filing the necessary documents with the probate court. Your executor is then going to be responsible for notifying your creditors of your passing and make sure that all of your debts are paid. In addition, he or she must inventory your assets, and depending on the size and scope of your holdings this can be no small task. There is also the matter of identifying and in some cases liquidating physical property via an estate sale.
All of this takes considerable time and effort plus a good bit of business savvy. In addition to paying the bills and identifying the assets, the executor is charged with distributing these assets according to your will. This can sometimes be a delicate matter, so ideally, the executor of the estate should be someone who is good with people and trusted by your heirs. For this reason, family members or close friends are usually selected as executors, but one can appoint a professional if this makes more sense given the specifics of your situation.
The selection of a sound executor is one of the most important aspects of estate planning. Carefully consider all that must be addressed and make your choice accordingly. It is not a “popularity contest,” as it were, but a practical business decision that will have a significant impact on your entire family.
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