Choices abound when you are planning your estate, and if you use a last will to transfer your assets you’re going to have to select an executor. It is important to understand the pragmatic duties that the executor must undertake so that you make your selection appropriately. This is not just a ceremonial title; there are hands-on tasks that the executor must carry out and it requires a certain skill set and a sufficient amount of time to devote to the exercise.
Your estate is going to have to pass through the process of probate when you use a last will, and during this interim the probate or surrogate court determines the validity of the will and supervises the administration of the estate. This administration involves settling debts including tax responsibilities, preparing assets for distribution, and maintaining communication with the heirs to the estate.
Property may have to be liquidated, and this can require a liquidation company and an appraiser or appraisers. A tax attorney or accountant may be necessary, and the executor will usually work with a probate attorney to guide the proceedings. Given all these responsibilities you can see that the executor must be an individual with a good bit of business acumen.
When you’re crafting a comprehensive plan for aging you are also going to want to empower individuals to make decisions in your behalf should you become incapacitated. This is done through the execution of durable powers of attorney. You want to choose these representatives carefully as well, and it should be noted that you can select one person to make health care decisions and another to make decisions of a financial nature.
Choosing the right representatives is one of the keys to crafting a successful estate plan, and this is something to keep in mind when you are making plans for the future.