Choosing an executor

Many people living in Illinois understand the importance of estate planning. They take the time to write a will and execute other documents that govern end-of-life issues, such as advanced directives, powers of attorney and living wills. However, many people make mistakes when choosing an estate executor.

This person is responsible for managing an estate after its owner has died. In addition to carrying out the wishes expressed in a will, the executor must account for all the deceased's assets and liabilities. Executors file wills to probate courts, handle taxes and, when necessary, obtain valuations of real estate, personal property and financial accounts.

Unfortunately, many estate owners don't consider all of these duties when choosing an executor. Many will holders name someone they trust and respect.

While it's true that estate planners should trust and respect their executors, the reality is that the job of an executor is far-reaching and complex. This responsibility should be given to somebody who is capable of carrying out multiple tasks, such as working with accountants, lawyers and judges. The executor should also be somebody who can understand complex legal and financial considerations while protecting the value of an estate.

In addition, an executor should be somebody who can handle delicate family and interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, many people name a child or relative as executor. This can result in the executor being the target of family resentments and disagreements. The long-term implications of these conflicts can take their toll on the executor.

Individuals who are concerned about naming an executor may wish to speak to an experienced attorney. The lawyer could also review the client's circumstances and provide advice on estate administration, including writing and updating wills and other documents.

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