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Choosing an executor for a will

Everyone in New York who creates an estate plan must make an important decision about who to name as executor under their will. The executor of a will is responsible for making sure that all of the instructions in the document are followed exactly and assets are correctly distributed to beneficiaries. While serving as executor, a person may have to commit to long hours of sorting through voluminous paperwork and might have to make practical choices that could lead to conflicts.

The first decision to make when choosing an executor is whether to select a professional or a family member. People with complicated estates may lean towards choosing a financial adviser, accountant or lawyer. Selecting a professional will ensure that a person's estate is handled by an uninterested party with the knowledge and ability to handle complex estate administration issues.

People with relatively simple estates might decide to choose a close friend, sibling or adult child to serve as their estate executor. A friend or family member will have a more intimate knowledge of a person's estate than a professional. When selecting a non-professional executor, it is important to choose someone who is trustworthy and responsible.

Some people decide to name a professional person and a family member as co-executors over their estate. This arrangement may provide the best of both worlds for some families. In the process of assisting a client in will preparation, a lawyer may be able to discuss all of the options for choosing an executor and help the client to determine what option would be the most practical and beneficial.

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