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Picking trustees, executors and fiduciaries requires thought

Georgia residents make numerous decisions when they create estate plans. One of the most important is who will serve as their trustees, executors and fiduciaries. Who fills these positions could make all the difference in how estate and trust administration are carried out after a benefactor’s death.

While it is true that these positions need to be filled by someone who the estate plan’s creator trusts, other factors also need to go into the decision. For instance, choosing someone who lives far away from the Georgia resident might not be a good fit since carrying out the required duties could be problematic. Even though executors and trustees often involve an attorney in the handling of their duties, an individual still needs to be able to understand and efficiently handle matters.

Executors are required to gather all of the assets and liabilities of the estate, obtain appraisals where necessary and meet the demands of Georgia’s probate laws, which include performing certain tasks within applicable deadlines — all under the supervision of the court. Trust administration is much less formal since it does not typically involve the courts. Trustees might not need court permission to perform their duties, but the court can hold them accountable if they neglect or mismanage the trust and its assets.

Sometimes, the people chosen to serve as trustees, executors and fiduciaries do not want to serve. It would be beneficial to consult with them first and appoint successors in case there is a change of heart when the time comes. An estate planning attorney can assist individuals with these choices by outlining all of the duties of each post and providing additional guidance where requested.

Source: pasadenajournal.com, “Estate Representatives“, Marlene S. Cooper, Dec. 1, 2016

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