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Estate planning - executors

The executor or executrix of your estate will have the task of seeing to it that your last wishes and your will are realized. When beginning the estate planning process, many think that an heir has to be an executor of the estate, however, you may elect anyone you wish to fill this role. In some cases (such as heirs being children), it may be preferable to select another family member, close friend or trusted advisor to fulfill the duties of your executor.

It's not enough to simply tell someone you'd like him or her to be your executor. Similarly, it's not the most prudent decision to name him or her as such without informing that person beforehand. By identifying your executor in your will or other legal documents pertaining to your estate plan, you can save family and friends the stress of trying to determine who should see to the settlement of the estate. Likewise, make certain you talk to your executor as you're planning your estate.

Be candid about your wishes so that you can address any confusion now, instead of waiting until it's too late to answer questions. Ensure that your executor knows not only which other estate planning documents you've created, but also where to find them and who else is named in them, including but not limited to: heirs/beneficiaries, advisors and anyone possessing the power of attorney or the ability to make medical decisions for you, as these individuals may be different from your executor.