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Choosing the right executor for an estate plan

Some people in Virginia may put off creating an estate plan. It can be difficult to confront issues such as illness and death. However, all adults need an estate plan, and an important element of an effective estate plan is choosing the right executor.

First, the executor needs to be someone who is capable of doing the job. The executor needs to be organized and trustworthy and should be someone who is likely to outlive the person creating the estate plan. This could be a family friend, a child or a niece or nephew. The executor should also be someone who knows the person well. The executor should be able to anticipate and understand the person's wishes. This reduces the likelihood that the executor will misunderstand the will or other documents. A person is also more likely to be comfortable talking about issues related to the estate with someone close, and the executor is more likely to interpret any ambiguous elements of the estate plan correctly.

An executor should not be chosen without a conversation about the duties and the willingness to serve. In some cases, being an executor can be a big and complicated responsibility.

The executor should be aware that it is permissible to work with an attorney and other professionals in settling the estate. The person who is creating the estate plan may also want to work with an attorney. This makes it less likely that there will be errors in the will or other documents. An attorney may be able to assist in preparing other types of documents such as powers of attorney for healthcare and finances. These can be important because they appoint people to take care of a person's medical decision and finances if the person becomes incapacitated through illness or injury.

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