If you decide that you are going to state your final wishes in a last will, you may not see the entire picture. Yes, you have to state your wishes in writing, but what will happen after you pass away? Who will make sure that your wishes come to fruition?
The process of estate administration is a very significant factor to take into consideration when you are devising your estate plan. When a will is used as the centerpiece of an estate plan, the estate administrator is the executor or personal representative. You can nominate an executor when you create your last will.
Some people are under the impression that an estate administrator can act independently without supervision, but this is not the case. Under state laws, a will must be admitted to probate. During probate, the court supervises the administration of the estate.
There is a proving of the will during probate. The court examines the will to determine its validity, and anyone who wanted to challenge the will could come forward to present an argument.
Final debts must be paid during probate, including final taxes. Ultimately, the assets must be prepared for distribution to the heirs. This can involve property appraisals and liquidation.
This is a basic overview, but as you can see, the executor is going to have to conduct a good bit of business on behalf of the estate. As a result, you should certainly nominate an executor who has the time and ability to handle these tasks. You can also arrange for your estate planning attorney to help your executor navigate through the probate process after your passing.
When a trust is utilized as an asset transfer vehicle, the trust administrator is called the trustee. If you were to use a revocable living trust, you would act as the trustee while you are living, and you would name a successor trustee to take over after you are gone.
You could name someone that you know personally to act as the trustee, but a professional fiduciary could alternately be chosen. Trust companies and banks provide trust administration services, and many people would be more comfortable empowering a professional entity to handle the trust administration tasks.
Estate Administration Information
We have prepared two different respective reports that shed a great deal of light on the estate administration process. One of the reports is dedicated to the process of probate and the role of the executor. To obtain access to your copy of this free report, click this link: The Role of the Executor.
Our firm has also prepared a report on trust administration, and you can visit this page to access your copy: Free Trust Administration Report.