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Choosing the right executor is important for your estate plan

Once you have set out the terms of your estate plan, an important next step is to pick the executor of your estate. This is an important job. The executor performs many tasks once the testator passes away. He or she identifies and manages the decedent's assets, tracks down beneficiaries, distributes assets according to the terms of the will, make sure that the will is executed properly according to the law, and so on.

Thus, it is important that you choose a good executor. A well-meaning but inexperienced or incompetent executor can cause a lot of problems for your beneficiaries. Assets could get mismanaged, and someone could step forward with a will contest, delaying the execution. No one wants family members to get into a battle over their estate.

You can pick nearly anyone to serve as your executor. Some people choose a close family member. Depending on the relative, this could be a good choice, but it is not necessary to pick a loved one or close friend -- especially if nobody in your family has the skills and knowledge to do the job.

A neutral third party may be a better choice as executor. For a fee, many attorneys and financial professionals are willing to serve as executor.

Whomever you pick, you need to notify that person and confirm that he or she will be willing to do it. It is a good idea to come up with a short list of successors, in case your executor is unable or unwilling to perform the task when the time comes.

Having an estate plan in place is a good way to give yourself peace of mind that your family will be provided for after you are gone. An important part of this task is finding the right executor.

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