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Four questions to you might have when appointing an executor

Though most people do not like to think about passing on, estate planning is an important tool to protect your assets for your beneficiaries. It also provides peace of mind because you know your affairs will be handled as you wish.

However, you must do more than just create a will. You also need to name an executor for your will. The executor ensures your will is distributed as you described. Naming a trustworthy executor helps the process go much smoother. Here are four things you might want to know before you select an executor.

What are the basic qualifications for an executor?

You can appoint nearly anyone to be an executor. He or she must be over the age of 18. You could pick a child, close friend, family member or spouse. However, it is usually a good idea to select someone who is younger than you and in good health. You do not want to name someone who may pass away before or around the same time as you do.

Can you name someone who lives out-of-state?

You can absolutely pick an executor that lives in another state. However, you should think about how easy it will be for him or her to travel to where you live and handle your affairs. Settling your estate and going through the probate process can take some time.

What tasks does an executor handle?

There are a variety of tasks an executor must complete. He or she files the papers with the court to start the probate process. The executor inventories all your assets. He or she uses the estate's funds to pay final bills and funeral costs. The executor also notifies banks and government agencies of your passing and closes credit accounts. He or she must file your final tax returns. Lastly, the executor distributes your assets as described in your will.

What are some desirable qualifications for an executor?

A person does not need to have legal or financial expertise to execute a will. The executor can hire an estate planning attorney to help with any legal concerns he or she may have. You should consider naming someone who you trust and is a responsible person. It is a good idea to pick an individual who is a good communicator because he or she will contact a number of people. A person who is well organized is also a smart move because he or she handles a lot of paperwork.

If you do not know anyone that meets these qualifications, you may consider hiring a third party to execute your will. You could name a bank, an attorney or another professional that deals with estates.

Selecting an executor who you trust will let you rest easy knowing your estate is in good hands.

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