Kennelly Business Law

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Give your executor, trustee appointments their due consideration

Estate planning is a very involved process. If you want to create a comprehensive plan, you will likely need to delve deep into your personal matters and think long and hard about what you truly want. Some decisions may come easy to you, but others may give you pause and present you with a need for more information.

In particular, you may go over whom you should appoint to important roles for administering your estate. For instance, you will need an executor to handle the probate proceedings associated with closing your estate, and if you utilize a trust to protect assets or give you more control over property distribution, you will need to name a trustee to manage the trust after your passing.

Making your choices

When it comes to deciding whom you want to appoint to these roles, you have various options. If you have several trusted individuals in your life, you may think that appointing one person as your executor and another person as your trustee is the right way to go. This option is certainly one that can have its benefits, such as by providing a way for each person to stay in check. The executor can assess the trustee's actions and vice versa. 

Additionally, more than one person could be in charge of making important decisions. As a result, the decision may receive more in-depth consideration. However, if the trustee and executor do not agree, it could hinder the administration process.

What about one person for both roles?

You do have the option of naming the same person as both your executor and your trustee, but you need to ensure that the person can act in both roles under North Dakota law. If you do have someone who fits both roles under law, having that individual act as both executor and trustee could allow for a more streamlined administration process, fewer expenses for the estate and less likelihood of miscommunication.

Because appointing individuals as your executor and trustee is an important part of estate planning, you undoubtedly want to make sure you understand what these roles entail. An attorney experienced in creating comprehensive estate plans could help you as you work to determine who you feel best suits these positions. Additionally, your legal counsel can ensure that your decisions are legally binding.

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