An estate plan is the optimal way to protect your family's financial security in the long term. It creates a map for handling your estate and distributing assets after you've passed. There are many ways to set up your will and testament to plan ahead. To make sure those carefully made plans happen, you'll need to carefully choose an executor to your estate. You can choose a primary executor, a back up, or a co-executor.
What is an executor?
The executor has many roles, the foremost being to carry out your wishes. While this is straightforward on the surface, it includes many steps. Executors must find assets, pay debts, taxes and funeral expenses, file with probate court, locate people named in the will and more. Generally speaking, the executor's role is to wrap up the affairs of the deceased.
What traits does an executor need?
Your choice of executor needs to be able to fulfill these tasks. The candidate needs follow-through, financial knowledge and people skills. While each estate has different levels of complexity, patience and virtue are essential. No matter what your estate is like, your executor should have the following traits:
- Financial and tax knowledge
- Responsible and acts with integrity
- Accessible and available
Clear plans for clear succession
As with anything else in life, estate plans are never as simple as they first seem. When discussing your loved ones, your assets and your wishes, it's important to be thorough. You won't be there to answer questions or clarify intent, so you to proactively avoid confusion and drama. An experienced attorney will help you draft a plan that fits your estate, with clear documentation that will protect your wishes and give direction to your executor.
Conversations about mortality are always difficult. An estate plan is a way to take control of the situation, putting your wishes into action. While your executor will have a big job, the right estate plan will make it much easier.