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Advantages of an independent fiduciary

New York residents who are preparing their wills should choose an executor carefully. While a person might be tempted to avoid naming an executor, this could leave loved ones with a great deal of conflict. For example, in one case, a woman who did not get along with her sister was told by her mother that she was not naming an executor and that she and her sister could work out the details.

The woman became concerned. She and her sister were supposed to get 40 percent each of the estate, and the woman's daughter, the only grandchild, was supposed to get 20 percent. However, the woman was concerned that the lack of an executor would lead to a great deal of conflict between her and her sister on her mother's death. The woman did not particularly care what happened to her share of the estate, but she was concerned about her daughter and hoped to persuade her mother to appoint an executor.

Often, a court will appoint the oldest child as executor if one is not named in a will, and in this case, the sister was the oldest. Sometimes, people will appoint whoever is caring for them at the end of their life, but this is not really a reward because being an executor can be grueling. A person might want to consider appointing an independent executor.

Choosing an attorney as an executor under a will may have a number of advantages. The attorney may be more likely to be disinterested than family members and may be unaffected by conflict. Administering an estate can also be a complex process, and family members often must hire professionals in order to assist them.

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