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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Should I get my executor's permission to appoint him/her in my Will?

I remember a file from years ago, where the family searched high and low for the Will of a man who had just passed away. The man's children were positive that their father had made a Will once, years ago. Eventually one recalled that the father mentioned he might appoint his doctor as his executor. After more searching of personal papers, they found the doctor's name. They couldn't find the doctor. They eventually discovered that he had passed away. More searching revealed that the doctor's widow had packed up his patient files without reading them and she didn't know whether there might have been a Will among them. They were able to persuade her to look for it, and lo and behold, there was the Will. Apparently the doctor hadn't known about it either. Eventually, it would have been destroyed.

If the person you've appointed doesn't know about the appointment, they aren't going to realize that they have to step up and take charge of your estate. You might as well not have appointed anyone, if nobody is going to act.

It's always a good idea to talk to the person that you want to appoint as executor. Sometimes people don't want to do it, and turn it down. You are better off knowing that now, while you can still appoint someone else. Sometimes they have questions for you about what you expect to be done, such as, for example, burial or cremation. You will have a chance to tell them where you keep important documents, where you bank, and who you use as an accountant. This exchange of information will help your estate administration run smoothly when the time comes.

This goes for the person/people you appoint under Enduring (Continuing) Powers of Attorney and Personal Directives as well.

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