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How to choose executors and trustees

| Jul 12, 2020 | Estate Planning |

People in Florida who are creating estate plans might wonder who they should appoint for certain roles in a plan, including the executor and trustee if needed. Executors and trustees do not need to be experts in legal issues or finance, but they should have a good business sense.

A number of other things are important as well. For example, the person appointed should be likely to survive the individual who has created the trust or will. This means considering the person’s age and health, and it is also generally a good idea to appoint backups. A corporate trustee could be a backup, but experts are mixed as to whether a corporate trustee is the right choice in other situations. They can cost more than private individuals, and they may have less flexibility. However, in situations of high family conflict, it may be necessary to appoint one. It might also be a good idea in a blended family because if a spouse remarries after an individual’s death, the children from the individual’s previous relationship could be cut out of the trust.

Naming co-executors or co-trustees could also be a problem in some cases. Conflict can arise even between unlikely people. Individuals should also review their estate plan after life changes to ensure that they want the same people to remain in their roles.

An attorney may help an individual determine whether they should use a will or one or more trusts as main estate planning documents. Many people who have trusts also have what is often called a “pour-over will.” This moves any assets not already in the trust at the time of the individual’s death into the trust. Trusts can help protect assets for individuals who spend irresponsibly or who have special needs, and these documents may also protect assets from creditors.

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