Retirement & Financial Planning Report

In your will, you’ll name an executor, in some states formally known as an administrator or personal representative.

After your death, it will be up to your executor to inventory your possessions, pay bills, file tax returns, and make sure your assets are distributed according to your instructions. Therefore, you should give careful thought to choosing an executor.

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You might not want to name your spouse as an executor; that would be a paperwork burden added to an emotional one and he or she may be too upset to act effectively. A grown son or daughter might be a better choice. If that’s not practical, you can name a professional advisor, such as an accountant or an attorney. For professionals, a fee schedule should be worked out in advance.

Whomever you choose as your executor, make sure you get his or her consent to serve before naming someone in your will. You should line up a backup executor, too, in case your original selection becomes unable to serve.

Then, go over everything with your executor. Your executor should know what your assets are and where the paperwork can be found.