Deciding who to designate as the executor of an estate

As many Missouri residents are likely aware, the purpose of an estate plan is to ensure that a person's final wishes are carried out. Every estate planning documents serves to meet that purpose -- wills, living wills and trusts all state what should be carried out upon a person's death.

Similarly, an executor also serves to help carry out a person's final wishes by taking care of many tasks like overlooking assets and dealing with taxes. This is a big responsibility and just as is it is important to carefully draft estate planning documents, it is equally important to designate a trustworthy executor.

The more communication there is between the executor and the drafter of the estate, the better the chances are that a person's wishes will be carried out exactly to their liking. People are not always clear on what exactly an executor is supposed to do. If a person agrees to be an executor before coming to a clear understanding of their role, it can create problems when they are left to take care of many tasks that they are not prepared to handle. For these reasons, it may be beneficial to name an individual as an executor well before the person named as the executor has to carry out their duties. Again, communicating with the executor before assigning them the role and telling them what they will be expected to do can help alleviate any future problems created by an unprepared executor.

Carefully choosing who to designate as the executor of an estate is just one of the many parts of estate planning that must be carefully carried out. There are also beneficiaries to consider in the will, whether or not a trust is appropriate, along with a myriad of other considerations. With legal help, it is possible to construct an estate plan that conforms to one's exact wishes and helps ensure that estate administration tasks are carried out as planned.

Source: Wealth Management, "Where There's a Will, There's an Executor," Hartley Goldstone, Jan. 8, 2014

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