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Choosing an individual to serve as an executor or estate trustee

| Apr 24, 2020 | Estate planning |

A common mistake made when creating a Tennessee will or trust is choosing the wrong individual as an executor or trustee of an estate. Some testators think that his or her spouse could easily take over their assets and property.

When deeds and financial accounts have both spouses named as joint owners, transferring ownership upon death may occur automatically. If a spouse cannot manage an estate, however, a testator may create documents naming a responsible individual to handle matters.

A parent does not typically provide the same services as a legal guardian

Minor children or disabled adults may require a guardian to assist them after a parent unexpectedly passes away. While a parent provides comfort and love, a guardian generally oversees spending related to a child’s education or medical care.

As noted by Kiplinger magazine, a will allows a testator to name a legal guardian to take care of a dependent’s financial issues. Providing instructions related to how a guardian can spend money assures a testator that funds will not go to waste.

The trustee manages property and assets held in a trust

Executing a trust requires placing assets and property in the care of an individual who can oversee their proper usage and maintenance. A testator, for example, may provide instructions for a trustee to use property and assets to generate a stream of income for his or her beneficiaries.

As described by Forbes magazine, the responsibilities of a trustee often require interacting with a team consisting of an attorney, bookkeeper and property manager. A trust may also provide instructions for selecting an individual skilled in managing a family’s needs along with overseeing a property’s maintenance, taxes and insurance.