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Wills

Estate planning is a primary concern for many older Americans. At the cornerstone of any estate plan is a will. Everyone should have a will. Without a will, you let the laws of your state determine who gets your property, which might possibly be relatives whom you have never even met. Without a will, the determination of who will manage your estate will also be left to the state. We all know we should have a will, but only a third of Americans have one.

Choosing an Executor

One of the key decisions in making a will is the choice of whom to name as the Executor, the person named by you and then appointed by the court to oversee the probate process and the settlement of the estate. At its simplest, the job entails gathering the assets of the estate, paying the debts of the estate including any taxes that may be due, including income taxes as well as estate taxes, if applicable, and then distributing the estate’s assets in accordance with the directions contained in the will. It would seem that specialized knowledge might be helpful, such as in accounting, investments or the law. My opinion is that a knowledge of the family involved is even more important. And if the Executor has that most uncommon of traits, namely, common sense, you may have yourself a proper Executor.


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