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An executor should be chosen with care

Georgia residents often delay the necessary process of creating a will. Either due to uncertainty regarding beneficiaries, general procrastination or an unwillingness to confront one's mortality, doing what should be done often remains undone. When estate owners finally realize the importance of having a will in place, they will need to consider the importance of choosing the right executor.

Named by the testator, or the person writing the will, the executor must wrap up the business of the testator's estate and carry out the terms of the will. Financial planning experts emphasize that the main character trait desirable in an executor is responsibility. It need not be a person with any specific training or expertise, such as a lawyer or accountant, but it should be someone who is responsive, a good communicator willing to make hard choices.

It's often helpful to consider who would not make a good executor first and then work from there. For instance, a person with a troubled financial past may not be able to get bonded, which might be required by the probate court. Issues may also arise if an executor who is also a beneficiary has a contentious relationship with another beneficiary. This can spell trouble from the start. It's also important to name a contingent executor in the event the first named executor declines to serve or predeceases the testator.

If no individual fits the bill, a bank or trust company may serve as executor. However, those entities charge much higher fees. An estate planning lawyer can offer advice and counsel on wills and other testamentary documents.

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