You should be aware of the multifaceted nature of a properly constructed estate plan. It is wise to take a 360 degree approach so that you can leave behind a workable situation for your loved ones after you are gone.
A last will is a commonly used asset transfer vehicle. If you utilize a last will to state your final wishes, you have to take the estate administration process into account. The person who would handle the tasks that must be completed during this process is the executor or personal representative.
When you create your last will, you can nominate an executor to handle the business of the estate. If you were to fail to do so, the court would appoint a personal representative.
Speaking of the court, the will would be admitted to probate after you pass away. The probate court would provide supervision while the estate was being administered by the executor.
The Role of the Executor
There are many different business oriented tasks that must be completed by the executor during the estate administration process, and there are certain laws that must be adhered to. You should keep this in mind when you are devising your estate plan.
The executor will be required to identify and manage the assets that comprise the estate. He or she will ascertain exactly how the assets are to be distributed to the inheritors, and the executor will create a bank account and pay any outstanding debts that may exist.
Clearly, the executor should be someone that you can count on who has a significant amount of business acumen.
Administering an estate can be time-consuming, so you should consider the availability of the person that you want to nominate. Anticipated longevity is also a factor that you should weigh when you are nominating an executor.
Impartiality is very important as well, and geography can enter the picture. The executor will be charged with the responsibility of identifying the property that comprises the estate, and appraisals and liquidation may be necessary. This is difficult to handle if the executor does not live nearby.
When you go to an estate planning attorney to establish your estate plan, you are developing a long-term relationship. As the years pass, your life circumstances can change, and changes in the lives of your family members can also take place. Your estate plan may need revisions from time to time, and your attorney will always be in a position to help you make the appropriate changes.
This relationship can extend to the estate administration process. Your attorney is going to be well aware of your wishes, and estate planning attorneys are cognizant of the legal requirements that must be met during the probate process.
To provide a turnkey situation, you could arrange for your estate planning lawyer to act as the probate attorney after you are gone. In this manner, the executor can contact your attorney when the time comes, and a legal resource will be readily available to help guide the executor through probate.
A probate attorney can provide much-needed assistance. The executor that you nominate is probably not going to have much experience with the probate process, and in fact, he or she may have no experience with probate at all. When a probate attorney is involved, the estate administration process will be much less daunting for the executor.
Our Firm Can Help
We have taken a brief look at the estate administration process and the role of the probate attorney in this post. You should certainly understand the process when you are planning your estate, and you should also be aware of the fact that there are some types of asset transfers that would take place outside of probate.
Though the probate process provides certain protections, there are a number of different drawbacks that people sometimes try to avoid when they understand all of the facts. Time and money can often be saved if you were to use a trust such as a revocable living trust instead of a will as the centerpiece of your estate plan.
If you would like to discuss all of your options with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney, our firm would be glad to help. Each family is different, and the ideal estate plan is going to vary depending on the circumstances. We can get to know you, answer all of your questions, and help you put a plan in place if you decide to go forward.
To set up a consultation, call us at 916-437-3500 or send us a message through our contact page.