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I take two different approaches in the selection of an executor and a guardian. In selecting an executor I would be looking at this as a business decision. I need the executor to be absolutely professional and mentally prepared to dive into handling the legal affairs involved in settling the estate. I would select someone that is very diligent, detailed and will assure that an estate attorney is consulted to assure all estate settlement matters are appropriately handled. Depending on complications that arise regarding the estate, settling an estate could take days to years and I would need the person selected to understand this process and follow through.
Selecting a guardian is very difficult but achievable. This approach would be more personal and more emotional. Many people will exhibit very caring and nurturing attitudes in public but the fact is what happens behind closed doors is a different story. I will choose a guardian based upon my personal observation and interaction with someone in my family or a friend that exhibits a family-oriented and responsible attitude. The individual(s) have to be someone that I have spent time with in social outings or family gatherings. My decision will also include not only a financial status but a combination of financial stability and long-term goals the guardian(s) has established for themselves (family). For example, I may not select anyone who is constantly talking about traveling extensively, which is a red flag to me that he/she is not mentally preparing to be tied down with children.
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