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chapter 4

WHAT'S A WILL EXECUTOR?

You might be wondering what you do with your Last Will and Testament once you've completed it. We'll get to that in a second. First, we should take a moment to talk about what an executor is and what they'll do for you and your estate plan.

An executor is arguably the most important person you'll name in your Will. They'll be responsible for a whole host of issues related to your estate, from paying down debt you've left behind to distributing your assets.

You'll want to choose someone who's responsible, someone you trust. They, along with the courts and your attorney (if you have one), will be making sure your last wishes are respected. It's a good idea to ask the person you've named if they feel comfortable serving as an executor. It's a fairly big responsibility, after all.

Can an Executor be an Heir?

Not only can you name an heir as your executor, it's actually fairly common. Close friends and family members are often the people we trust most as well as the people we'd like to remember us and inherit our life's assets when we're gone.

Don’t worry. Even if you pass away in debt, your executor won’t be on the hook for what you owe.

Do Executors Get Paid?

You may leave aside some money for your executor to take care of expenses he or she will incur dealing with your estate and, in some occasions, a probate court may choose to compensate an executor from the deceased's estate. It's much more common that an executor simply takes care of your estate for free, honoring your last wishes.

Will Executors Get Stuck Paying Your Debt?

No. If your estate doesn't have enough assets to pay off the debts you've incurred, it's declared "insolvent." Your executor will take care of paying these debts from the estate itself, but if the money runs out, he or she will not be on the hook to pay anything. This isn't true, however, if your spouse is your executor.

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