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Choosing an executor

You put a lot of thought into making a will that disposes of your assets in the way you deem appropriate. There remains one more step to ensuring the carrying out of your will's provisions: appointing the right executor.

Many states' laws have basic technical rules for who may serve as an executor. In addition, you may wish to consider some additional factors when making your choice. Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney can help you further define the characteristics to look for.

When will a court stop an executor from serving?

In Connecticut, a court will typically only refuse to appoint an executor if it receives very strong evidence of incompetence for performing the tasks involved. If this issue comes up, there may be a formal hearing to determine whether an executor may serve.

Can you appoint someone who lives far away?

You may appoint an executor who lives in another state. However, this person will then have to appoint the probate court judge in the county handling the estate matter as an agent who can receive legal documents on his or her behalf. You may also want to consider how the prolonged travel may affect such an executor's ability to effectively manage the various necessary tasks.

What does an executor do?

Some of the executor's major duties include inventorying the estate, managing assets throughout the probate process, distributing assets according to the will's directions and making a complete accounting.

Testators who leave varied and high-value assets, such as various types of real estate, investment accounts and businesses, need an executor who understands how to deal with such assets. Look for someone with a high level of knowledge, practical skills and general organizational ability.

The executor may have to deal with complicated interpersonal issues during this difficult time. Emotions running high, combined with the fact that high-value assets may be at stake, can lead to some stressful situations. An executor should possess the capacity to deal with negative emotions and conflicts without letting such situations take over and distract him or her from the management of the estate.

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