VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Choosing the right executor

Florida residents who are in the process of preparing their wills may wonder how to choose the right executor. It is a position with a lot of responsibility, and some experts recommend choosing more than one to help reduce conflict. While an estate can be settled in just a few months, it can take a year or longer if there are disputes. Experts also recommend choosing a person who is organized and good with numbers over simply handing the task to the oldest child if the testator will be selecting a family member.

The executor must find the original will and get multiple copies of the death certificate before proceeding. The probate court must then approve the appointment. The next step is dealing with different aspects of the estate. Probate, through which assets like certificates of deposit, stocks and many other assets pass, is a public and sometimes lengthy process. Other assets such as life insurance policies do not go through the process, however, and all that is usually needed is a copy of the beneficiary designation and a death certificate.

The executor has the option of hiring professionals to assist with various aspects of administering the estate. In many case, an attorney who has experience with estate administration is one of them.

An unfortunate part of the process that many executors are confronted with is a will challenge or other types of family disputes. Many estate planning attorneys will recommend to their clients that the contents of a will be disclosed in advance to family members so that these types of controversies can be addressed at the earliest opportunity.

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