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How to Succeed as the Estate Executor

Being the executor or administrator of an estate can be a challenging task.  There are significant duties and obligations that are involved, and potential personal liability if things are not done right.  You should always have an attorney who is knowledgeable in probate law assist you when you are acting as the executor or administrator of an estate.  The information below will hopefully be of some general help and assistance, but is not to be considered as a substitute for legal advice regarding your specific estate and executor duties.

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Regular Estate Plan Checkups

In order to be sure that your estate plan remains current and effective to maximize your wishes, you should have your estate plan reviewed by an attorney or other estate planning professional periodically to assure that it still meets your needs. You should also understand that the designations on your life insurance, retirement accounts, pension plans, bank accounts and other such assets can have a very significant impact on the probate of your estate.  In other words, there is more to your estate plan than the will that goes through the probate process.  The action that you take (or fail to take) on your “non probate” assets can dramatically impact your estate plan, since your will typically will not control the disposition of your non probate assets.

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How to Properly Plan for Probate

The only prudent way to plan for probate is to have a thorough assessment of your financial situation and assets by a qualified estate planning attorney or other estate professional.  Self help and do it yourself wills and will kits often create more problems than they solve, and cost multiple times more in the way of estate expenses in the long run than they save in the short run.  Hire a professional and do it right.  The estate that you have worked a lifetime to build is worth investing the relatively small amount of funds needed to get sound legal advice.

How to Minimize Probate and Estate Disputes

The best way to avoid disputes and challenges to the probate of your estate is to be sure that you obtain quality legal advice in putting your estate plan into place, to be sure that your estate plan is up to date and current at all times, and to be sure that your wishes are made known in advance to all persons impacted by your estate.  The better the plan and the fewer surprises, the less likely there will be a dispute.

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