Executors & Probates
An executor is the personal representative of your estate. They are the person in charge of taking control of your assets, paying off any debts, and distributing assets to your beneficiaries per the terms and conditions of your will. You can choose anyone to be the executor of your will, but it is a good idea to choose someone who is both competent and trustworthy. The person you choose to be executor should be outlined in your will. Someone you appoint to be the executor of your will has the right to refuse, so you should have a backup executor in place just in case.
Probate is the legal process that transfers the legal title of property from the estate of the deceased to their beneficiaries. During the probate process the executor of your will goes before the courts and indentifies and catalogs all the property you owned, appraises the property, and pays all debts and taxes, proves that the will is valid and legal, and distributes the property according to the instructions of the will. Probate can be a long, drawn-out legal process, and there are some probate-avoidance plans in place. Simply speak to your attorney to find out what you can do to avoid probate in your area.