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Who are the Key Parties to a Will?

When a person executes a Last Will & Testament, there are certain parties involved. It is important to know who these key parties are whether you are executing a will of your own or whether you are one of the parties to a will someone else created. This blog post will briefly describe the key parties involved in a will execution.

  1. Testator: this is the person who writes the Last Will & Testament. He is the one giving away his assets by executing the instrument.
  2. Beneficiaries: these are the people named in the will by the testator who will receive some asset from the estate
    a. Beneficiaries can be individuals, businesses, nonprofits, etc.
  3. Executor: The person named by the testator who is given the responsibility to carry out the testator’s wishes as prescribed by the will. The executor has many responsibilities.
  4. Trustee: is the person named by the testator to manage the estate’s assets for the benefit of beneficiaries who will receive the assets at some future date. Example: a testator might leave money in a trust for the benefit of a 10-year-old son, but assign a trustee to care for the trust assets until the son is 21, at which point the assets will be distributed to him.
  5. Legal Guardian: These are persons named by the testator to provide care for minor children if when the testator dies any dependent children are left without any living parent. It is important to name a legal guardian in your will because if you don’t, the court will step in and appoint a legal guardian for your children. The appointed person may not be the person the testator would have wanted to raise his or her children. It is a good practicing point to name both a guardian and a substitute guardian in your will. Remember to discuss this decision with your guardian choices ahead of time and make sure they are okay with and ready to accept such a task if and when the time comes.

If you have any questions based on your status as any one of the described parties to a will, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.