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Estate Planning – Choosing your Executor

June 16, 2021

By: Pamela M. Hagan, CPA

One of the most important decisions in making your will is the choice of whom to name as the executor. The executor is the person responsible for settling your estate after your death. They will be required to gather your assets, pay debts, taxes and expenses, and distribute the remaining money and assets according to the instructions in your will to your beneficiaries.

When selecting an executor for your estate you need to consider the size of your estate, the nature of the assets in the estate, the structure of your estate plan and your family situation. Typically larger estates and estates with family businesses or complex investments and estates with multiple beneficiaries and charities are more complex to settle. Administering an estate with family harmony is easier than one whose family members disagree or has conflicts of interest.

Spouses often name each other as executors or one of their adult children to settle their estate. While this often is a good choice, the decision should not be made hastily. Other choices for executors could be an accountant, a corporate executor such as a bank or trust company, an attorney, investment advisor or a business associate. Sometimes using a non-family executor is beneficial when conflicts of interest are present.

Selecting an executor for your estate is a very important decision. You will need to carefully evaluate your estate situation and select your executor accordingly.

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