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Choosing the Right Executor for Your Estate: Key Considerations

Determining who you should select to serve as the Executor of your estate can often be a difficult decision. It is important to understand the duties and responsibilities of an Executor before you make your final decision. Here are some helpful hints to guide you through your decision-making process:

Who Should You Name As Your Executor?

An Executor is usually a family member, such as a spouse, child, or sibling,   or a friend who will administer your estate and distribute your assets to your beneficiaries in accordance with the provisions of your Last Will and Testament. You may also name a professional Executor, such as an attorney or an accountant, to serve individually, or as a Co-Executor with your family member or friend. The knowledge and experience of a professional Executor can often expedite the probate and estate administration process.

You should also name a Successor Executor, in the event that your Executor is unable, unwilling, or unavailable to serve. If you do not name an Executor or a Successor Executor, the Surrogate’s Court will appoint as Executor based upon the order of priority under New York law. So, you run the risk that the Surrogate’s Court may appoint a person whom you would not wish to serve as the Executor of your estate.

Ultimately, your decision depends on whether your family members and friends have the time and knowledge to serve as an Executor, as well as the ability to handle any potential family disputes and resolve problems. However, an Executor should always seek the advice and counsel of an estate attorney for professional guidance during the settlement of an estate.

What are the Duties and Responsibilities of Your Executor?

  • Preserve, Protect, Collect/Transfer/Sell, and Value the Estate assets
  • Prepare and file the Surrogate’s Court documents for the Probate Proceeding
  • Resolve any family disputes
  • Pay debts, liabilities, taxes, and estate administration expenses
  • Account to the beneficiaries for assets, income, and expenses
  • Distribute assets to the beneficiaries pursuant to the provisions of the Last Will and Testament
  • Establish Testamentary Trusts under the Last Will and Testament
  • Prepare and File applicable tax returns and arrange for the appropriate tax payments:
    1. Final Federal and New York Individual Income Tax Returns;
    2. Federal and New York Estate Tax Returns; and
    3. Federal and New York Estate Fiduciary Income Tax Returns.

Russo Law Group, P.C. can provide professional services to guide you through the estate planning process, and also to ease the burdens of your Executor. We understand how difficult it is to cope with the death of a loved one while trying to navigate the estate administration process

We invite you to take advantage of our comprehensive website as well as our free seminars and webinars to learn more about how Russo Law Group, P.C. may assist you and your Executor.

Russo Law Group, P.C.
100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 102
Garden City, NY 11530

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