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Understanding the roles of an executor of an estate

We all are faced with difficult decisions that we must make for the future. This can be both overwhelming and nerve wrecking because we simply cannot predict the future. Nonetheless, we can make speculations and anticipations, making it somewhat clear what our wishes might be. This is only one factor that makes the estate planning process challenging and the process that is often delayed or put off until the last minute.

When drafting an estate plan, one choice you need to make is who will be your executor. You might be asking who this person is, what role they play and why it is vital that you carefully choose the right person for this position. One way to ensure that you have made an adequate choice is by fully understanding the responsibilities of an executor.

An executor is the personal representative for a deceased person's estate. Ultimately, their role is to protect the home, savings and other assets of the deceased until the probate process has been completed and all assets have been dispersed. From the beginning of the process until the end, an executor is tasked with a variety of responsibilities.

First, an executor must obtain a death certificate. Next, they must locate the wills and trusts included in the deceased's estate plan. In order to obtain a clearer idea of how complex the process is and the contents of the estate plan, it is important to seek professional advise as you move forward. Then, an executor must file letters testamentary, which confirms that you are appointed as executor as the estate moves through the probate process.

An executor must also locate and protect the assets of the deceased, pay any outstanding bills and taxes and ensure that the probate process carries on without missing any important legal steps. This is where it can be necessary to obtain legal guidance.

As the above information suggests, an executor is tasked with various roles and can take on huge responsibilities. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider whom you name as your executor. If you are having any issues regarding a current estate plan or are acting as an executor and have encounter problems, it is important to understand your situation, seek legal guidance and note all your options and rights in the matter.

Source: Bankrate.com, "You're the executor of an estate? Here are 7 tips for getting through it," Judy Martel, Sept. 29, 2017

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