If you’ve gone to the trouble to create a Will, powers of attorney, trusts or other estate planning elements, you should take a little time to think about how your executor will handle your estate. Your executor, also called your personal representative, is the most important person in your estate because he or she will have the responsibility to administer the estate through the probate process. You should always choose your executor carefully, but once you’ve made the choice there are a few steps you can take to ensure his or her job goes more smoothly.
Your will, powers of attorney, advanced medical directives, life insurance policies, and all the other important documents related to your estate plan are vital to the executor and the probate process. To make your executor’s life easier it’s always best to keep these documents in a safe place. There are any number of places where you can keep them, but common choices include safe deposit boxes, your attorney’s office, a home safe, or combination of places. If you choose more than one place, it’s important to keep a list that details the location of each of the documents. If you choose only a single place, you should have copies made and kept in an alternative location.
Speaking of lists, your executor will also need more information about other property that may not be detailed in your primary estate planning documents. For example, if you have digital assets, important computer files, digital photos, or online accounts, you will want to allow your executor the ability to access this information after you die. Creating a single list that details what kind of property you have and how to access it can be a great benefit.
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