One of the most important tools in estate planning is making a will. Depending on the type of assets a person has, a will may be the only thing they need to do, while others may consider trusts and other legal options for their estates. No matter the size of your estate, it is important to have an estate planning attorney helping you with these documents to ensure they are drafted correctly according to your state’s laws.
When a person is drafting a will, they will need to choose the person they want to be the executor of the estate. The person who is chosen as the executor should be someone that the person trusts completely to protect their assets. The executor can be a trusted family member or friend. You can also choose an estate attorney or financial institution to be the executor if you feel that would be a better choice for your family.
The duties of an executor include the following:
- Locating and making an inventory of all the decedent’s assets and property
- Notifying any creditors and paying any outstanding debts or financial obligations using funds from the estate
- Overseeing and managing all assets and property while the estate is moving through the probate process
- Distributing property to the decedent’s family, including their surviving spouse and dependents, and any other beneficiaries named in the decedent’s will or as required by law
Being an executor requires focus, organizational skills, and dedication because there are administrative responsibilities, legal filings, and deadlines that need to be met to probate the estate properly. Although a family member can be chosen as an executor, one of the things to consider is that the months following the death of a loved one can be a very emotional one. After all, it is never easy to go through the grieving process, but then to add the responsibilities of probating an estate may add too much stress to that family member.
The person chosen should also understand what your wishes are for your estate and this will make it easier for them to carry out your wishes. There is also something else to keep in mind when choosing your executor. No matter how concise your will might be, there may still be family members who will dispute what your final wishes were. The executor is the person who is responsible for mediating these disputes and hopefully avoid costly and long-drawn-out probate if the disputes spill into the courtroom and contesting the will.
If you need to start planning your estate, then your first step would be contacting an attorney like a probate lawyer. It isn’t easy planning your estate, and that’s why a probate lawyer could be very useful in getting everything in order.