When you name someone as the executor of your estate, you are sending a message that you trust them significantly because this person is responsible for handling all of your affairs when you are no longer around. You are also passing on a lot of tasks and work for this executor because it is a very time-consuming process to wrap up an estate.
Some of the steps that you take now can make things much easier for your executor and by association, your heirs. The first thing to do is update your trust beneficiary and will designations.
One of the best things you can do for your executor is to leave behind documents that truly reflect your wishes and are easily found after you pass away. Make sure that all beneficiary forms for your retirement accounts, life insurance policies and payable on death designations are fully updated. Be sure that if you’ve created a living trust that all of the relevant assets have been funded inside of it. An executor must also be able to find the documents that you have left behind.
There are legal and financial documents that almost everyone will have or need and these should be organized in one safe place. This can include vehicle titles, birth certificates, divorce decrees, marriage certificates, military discharge paperwork, property tax records, social security records, trust documents, brokerage statements, insurance policies and deeds to real estate.
Where possible, make the extra step to introduce your executor to your professional advisors, such as your life insurance company, brokerage company, bank, and home and auto insurance company. Ensure that some cash is accessible so that your executor can take action sooner rather than later.
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