Estate planning for seniors in Pennsylvania can be a straightforward process if it is well organized and thoughtfully contemplated. One major decision you must make is who is going to administer your estate once you are gone.

Here are some tips:

*When thinking about who would best fulfill this position, focus on individuals who are responsible, work hard and get along well with others. Your chosen executor does not need to live locally, but it is vital to select someone not prone to family drama. After all, you want the distribution of your assets to happen as smoothly as possible. If you feel that no family member or friend fits the above criteria, you may want to choose a professional such as an accountant, attorney, trust company or bank as your executor. However, this comes with a financial fee that might be significant.

*When you are drawing up your will, you might choose to have one of your contemporaries as your executor. Since wills do not expire, many things can change between the time it is initially drafted and when it is probated. While a will is valid with only one named executor, it is a good idea to choose an alternate in the event that your primary choice is unwilling or unable to serve or passes away before you. Select someone who is younger and healthy to act as an alternate successor.

*Determine whether your chosen executor is someone a court is likely to approve to act in this capacity. He or she must be over the age of 21 and should be in good financial standing. Many Pennsylvania courts mandate bonding which helps prevent negligence or malfeasance. Therefore, you should avoid choosing an individual with poor credit history, a bankruptcy declaration, many liens and creditors against him or her, etc. If he or she cannot receive a bond, the court can refuse to name him or her as executor. Courts also tend to disqualify former felons from this role since it involves the distribution of finances and signing of checks. Non-U.S. citizens who do not reside in this country are also generally ineligible to serve as executors since a court does not have jurisdiction over them.

Choosing a qualified individual is in the best interest of your estate. Contact OWM Law to review your estate plan, and will, and discuss your choice of executor.

 

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