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How to choose an executor

One task that is often underestimated or ignored during the preparation of a will is the task of selecting an executor. A New York testator may believe that the person that has been chosen is qualified for the role, but that is not always the case. In some cases, the executor of a will is not even told ahead of time that he or she has been chosen to do so.

When choosing an executor, it may be a good idea to select someone who the entire family trusts or is at least comfortable with. This is because the executor may be able to distribute some assets at his or her discretion, which could cause problems. For instance, one heir may get a photo album that another heir had an attachment to or an asset that was worth a lot of money that another heir was hoping to have control over.

Good communication between the testator and the executor can make things easier for the executor when it comes time to do his or her duty when the testator dies. Executors should also understand how to value assets such as real estate or find experts who can place a proper valuation on an item. This is important when selling assets to pay bills or when determining how much tax an estate may owe.

The probate process can often be confusing, and it can also take more time than both the executor and the heirs who have been provided for in the decedent's will expected. In order to reduce potential conflict, it can be a good idea for the executor to keep the decedent's heirs and other family members posted as to the progress. An attorney who has estate administration experience can often assist an executor in avoiding potential problems and delays.

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