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It matters a great deal who is chosen to administer your estate

When it comes to choosing the executor for your will, it's important to realize that not everyone in your life will be temperamentally fit for the responsibility. While many — if not most — estates can be satisfactorily handled by laypersons with no formal legal training, there are some qualities estate administrators should possess, including:

-- Being dependable

-- Having a character that is above reproach

-- Possessing excellent organizational skills

-- Able to keep up with lots of important paperwork

-- Understands the importance of meeting deadlines

The need for these qualities is clear once one understands the duties that an estate administrator must carry out during the probate process. He or she will be responsible for duties that include:

-- Inventorying the entire contents of the estate.

-- Paying off your creditors and settling all legitimate debts.

-- Filing a final state and federal tax return.

-- Closing bank and credit accounts.

-- Locating the will and initiating the probate process.

-- In some circumstances, the estate administrator will be responsible for arranging and paying for the funeral out of the estate funds.

-- Notifying Social Security and/or other governmental agencies of the death.

-- Distributing the remainder of the estate to the heirs and beneficiaries.

Sometimes family members are ill-suited for the task of estate administration. They may be too burdened by grief, not adept enough at managing financial affairs or simply be too occupied with their own lives and families to do the job justice. An estate administration attorney can be a good choice in those situations.

Source: Huffington Post, "How to Choose the Right Executor for Your Will," Jim T. Miller, accessed Nov. 22, 2016

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