An "estate” refers to everything you own when you pass away: your banking or financial accounts, any homes or real estate you own, and any other possessions you may have had. An estate plan — regardless of whether you have a large or small amount of assets — aims to ensure that your wishes are carried out after you die and may provide information for end-of-life considerations.
The person who makes sure everything is taken care of in these regards is known as an "executor" (or a "trustee", in the case of a trust.) The role of an executor has big shoes to fill when it comes to settling an estate.
An executor is in charge of (but not limited to):
- Filing your will with the court to settle your debts.
- Making sure accounts are closed and remaining assets are distributed to the proper people.
The person whom you choose as your executor should be both organized and trustworthy. They should also be able to juggle the responsibilities of being in this position while dealing with their own life responsibilities. You do also have the option of designating "co-executors". If you decide to do so, make sure the two individuals would be willing and able to work together. Also, in case the executor(s) can not fulfill their duties when the time comes, it is worth naming a contingency executor. If you are having problems coming up with someone you would identify in your personal life to become your executor, you can rely on someone, such as an attorney, to serve as executor or trustee upon your death. If you would like to discuss how to create your own estate plan and any questions you may have about naming an executor, please contact us for a free consultation.