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Put careful thought into whom you will name as your executor

Few people actually look forward to estate planning. Putting yourself in the frame of mind to do it means that you have to think about what the world will be like after you're no longer in it, which is not something that everyone wants to do. However, ultimately it's something that needs to be done. It's a way of having a say in your affairs after you're gone, which is certainly preferable to leaving no instructions behind -- and having your estate eaten up by taxes and fees.

While figuring out the "what" is important -- such as whether or not to set up a trust to distribute your assets -- the "who" is also important. If you do choose to set up a trust, then selecting a trustee to handle the distribution of the trust assets is of critical importance as well.

Trustees play an important role. It's up to them to oversee the trust, and to make sure that your wishes are carried out. Many people might select a family member to do this job, but that might not be the best option for everyone. It is also a good idea to name a contingent trustee, so that if your first choice cannot serve because of incapacitation or death, there is no doubt as to who should step into the role.

Whatever you choose, you do not have to make the choice without professional advice. An experienced attorney can aid in this decision to make sure your wishes are carried out as you specify.

Source: The Times of Trenton, "Rossi: How to choose the right executor for your estate," Kurt Rossi, March 30, 2014

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