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Florida estate planning: Naming an executor

When it comes to end of life planning, one may not consider all of the little details that can actually have a big impact on his or her estate. Thorough estate planning can help Florida residents avoid any potential problems and allow them to see how their decisions will truly impact how everything will be treated after they are gone. Naming one's executor is one of these details that can have either a positive or negative effect on the handling of an estate.

Before going into how to choose an executor, it is important to understand the role of this person. An executor is charged with handling the financial matters of an estate. These duties often include maintaining property, distributing assets and paying bills and taxes. This person may also be required to attend court hearings regarding the estate.

Choosing an executor will be easy for some, while for others, the decision may prove more difficult. Typical choices include a spouse, a child or other family member. Many states, however, place some restrictions on who may be designated as an executor. These generally include that:

  • Named person must be 18 or older
  • Named individual cannot be a convicted felon
  • Out-of-state executor must be related by blood, marriage or adoption
  • Named person must be mentally and physically able to perform duties

Florida residents who do not feel that they have relatives capable of taking on these duties may be able to name corporations as executors, though there are limitations placed on this At the end of the day, an executor should be a person that is trustworthy, organized and good at communicating. When estate planning, it is a good time to review not only who will best be able to handle the stress of the position, but who will also ensure one's final wishes are carried out.

Source: FindLaw, "Choosing the Executor FAQ", Accessed on Aug. 26, 2015

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