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The importance of picking the right executor when estate planning

Vigilant New Yorkers will make certain that they have crafted a comprehensive estate plan regardless of their age, assets and family situation. However, one factor that is often overlooked is the executor. Many people will have someone in mind to serve this vital function, but they do not consider the multitude of factors that go into the decision and whether their initial choice is the right one for the job. Being an executor is not easy and bearing various issues in mind is key when selecting the person to do it.

Frequently, the executor is still in the middle of grieving for the person who died simultaneous to doling the assets to the heirs. A tax return must also be filed and debts must be paid. The work an executor does is not completed over the course of a few days in the person's spare time. It can take months and even years. The way the estate plan is crafted can help with an efficient process for the executor.

Avoiding probate is preferable. With probate, the debts are paid and the assets are distributed to the heirs. This is always difficult as some heirs might feel shortchanged and assets can be vulnerable to creditors. Proper titles on assets and who is named on various documents for retirement benefits, insurance policies and annuities is imperative. If there is real estate, the deed might say something different than what the will says. Other accounts can also be vulnerable due to this issue. Having a trust can avoid probate and protect heirs from the estate tax.

The executor should have a list as to the location of the will, bank accounts, contracts, loans and personal information. The executor will also be responsible for contacting all entities with which the decedent had a financial relationship. Selling property, dispersing or disposing of personal possessions and more often comes to the forefront. For people who are crafting their estate plan, the selection of the executor should be taken very seriously. To make certain that this is handled properly, speaking to a legal professional experienced in estate administration is a smart decision.

Source: cnbc.com, "There's more to the job of executor than you think," Sarah O'Brien, Aug. 9, 2017

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