The importance of a spouse in estate planning

Most people in Florida who are contemplating the preparation of their will know that part of the task is to appoint an executor to carry out the will's provisions. Many legal and financial professionals believe that the spouse of the testator can be an ideal choice, for a variety of reasons.

A spouse will often have superior knowledge about the couple's assets and the express and implied wishes and desires of the testator. As the executor, the spouse may be in a better position to track the location of assets and financial documents relating to them. The spouse will also be required to perform the normal duties of an executor, including the payment of all outstanding bills and ensuring the smooth and timely distribution of the decedent's assets to the named beneficiaries.

A spouse who is selected by the testator to be the executor will need to be completely informed about all assets and financial information. A discussion about all of the specifications of the will should be held. However, in the event that the spouse is unable to make sound decisions, it may be a better option to appoint a third party as the executor.

There are other documents besides a will that are often appropriate when estate planning matters are being considered. It is often important to plan on what will happen if a person becomes incapacitated and is unable to make financial decisions. In such an event, it may be advisable to consider appointing the spouse as an agent under a power of attorney covering these types of situations. An attorney who has experience in estate planning matters can often be of assistance in preparing these documents.

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