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Living Trusts and Wills

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The Executor
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The Executor

The executor of an estate is the individual that is chosen to carry out the wishes of the deceased through the execution of a will. The executor, named in a properly drawn will, is chosen, usually out of love and/or trust, and is expected to follow the written instructions and making sure that the terms of the deceased's will is carried out

  • It is imperative that the person you chose as the executor of your will has a copy of it or know where it is, and can readily take possession of it upon your death, so don't hide your will where it is hard to find, but keep it in a safe and secure place.
  • The executor will need insurance policies, the deeds to all properties, banking account records, certificates of stocks and bonds, loan documents, credit card statements, income tax returns for at least 3 to 4 years, burial information, and knowledge of all other property, including jewelry, art, antiques and collectibles, automobiles, and any other asset of value.

The executor's job is to find and read the will, keep good records of all assets of the estate, pay expenses, sell property, if necessary, and distribute money and assets to the heirs.

An executor should have patience, know how to manage time, and have the ability to make good and decisive choices when hiring professionals to help process the different aspects of the will. Lawyers, realtors, accountants, tax experts, and appraisers may be needed to consumate the probate process.

As an executor, the first order of business should be to find an experienced attorney who is familiar with the laws and court proceedings of the state in which the will is to be probated.

It is the executor's responsibility to present the will to the probate court, along with an inventory of assets and liabilities. The court will decide if the will is acceptable for probate, then order a notification of proceedings that is published in a local newspaper. This gives notice of the impending hearing date to creditors, heirs and beneficiaries, and anyone who might have a reason to contest the will.

  • If there is no will, the state decides the fate of your assets. An administrator, with the same authority as an executor, is appointed to make decision as to the distribution of the estate. It will be distributed in accordance with the laws of the state and may not be distributed the way you want them to be.

For anyone named as an heir or beneficiary in a will, an inheritance, no matter how big or small, is very important, and they look to the executor of the estate to make the right decisions. An executor, or administrators, is required to perform his, or her, duties in a fudiciary manner, acting in the best interests of all heirs, or beneficiaries, named in the will.

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