Most people understand the importance of estate planning and writing a comprehensive will, but misconceptions lead to poor choices along the way. When you start creating your final plans, including establishing trust accounts and writing your will, you should know the facts.
There are some things everyone needs to understand to ensure an enforceable, valid estate plan.
You can choose a beneficiary as the executor
A common misconception in estate planning is that your executor must be a neutral party, not a beneficiary. While you can choose a neutral party if you worry about disagreements and challenges, a beneficiary is acceptable as well. Choosing a beneficiary as executor is particularly common when you select a spouse to handle your estate because most of your estate will likely pass to your spouse anyway.
There are restrictions to your executor choice
Although you can choose a beneficiary as your executor, there are certain individuals who cannot serve in the role. Anyone under the age of 18 is ineligible to serve as executor of an estate. In most states, any non-relative chosen as executor must be a resident of the state where the deceased resided, and anyone with a felony conviction is ineligible as well.
Your executor must file the will after your death
Choose an executor you trust to handle things according to the law, including filing your will in a timely manner to complete the probate process. Avoid choosing an executor who assumes that, if they avoid filing the will, they can distribute assets as they wish.
Understanding the facts helps you create a valid estate plan and choose an executor you can trust.