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Choosing an executor is an important area of elder law planning

It is common for the estate of a recently deceased individual to go through probate proceedings. Unless parties took extra steps to avoid the process, surviving family members will likely attend to the necessary duties associated with the legal proceedings. Often the appointed personal representative handles the majority of the actions that need to take place during this typically elder law process. 

Because a personal representative holds a considerable amount of responsibility, individuals may want to understand how such a person is chosen. The party creating the estate plan can appoint a personal representative, or executor, who best suits the circumstances. This appointment can occur during the creation of the will. If the party does not appoint an executor, the court will appoint an administrator after the person's death.

The executor will need to file the deceased party's last will and testament with the probate court in order to have the document validated. Once this occurs, settlement of the estate can begin. Probate property categorizes any assets that were solely owned by the deceased and did not have any beneficiary designations. 

Understanding the various aspects of estate planning and probate proceedings that may pertain to a certain situation could help individuals plan more specifically for their circumstances. Louisiana residents may gain more information from reliable local resources and begin their planning as they see fit. Speaking with experienced elder law attorneys could also allow interested parties to determine which planning tools may prove useful to them and how to appoint executors and other needed agents.

Source: cumberlink.com, "Elder Care: Be wise about probate", March 23, 2017

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