When you sit down and create a will or a trust, you are recording your final wishes in writing. The execution of the document can seem like the long and short of it, but there is more to the process .
Without question, you have to execute legally binding estate planning documents, but you also have to consider the real world tasks that must be completed after you are gone to bring these wishes to fruition. You can leave behind a turnkey situation if you take the right steps in advance.
The Role of the Executor
Estate administration is going to enter the picture. If you maintain direct personal possession of your property, and you use a will to direct the distribution of the property after you are gone, the estate administrator is the executor or executrix. A male administrator is called an executor, and an executrix is a female.
The estate administrator would admit the will to probate, and the administration of the estate would be supervised by the Surrogate’s Court. During probate, the court would make sure that the will is valid, and final debts would be paid by the executor. Ultimately, the executor would inventory the assets that comprise the estate and prepare them for distribution to the heirs.
After the estate is closed by the court, the executor would distribute the property to the heirs in accordance with your wishes.
Things are similar with a trust, but there are some differences. If you were to use a trust like a revocable living trust instead of a last will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer, you could act as the estate administrator at first. You would serve as the trustee throughout your life, and you name a successor trustee to administer the trust after you pass away.
You create a trust declaration when you are establishing the trust. In this document, you record instructions that the trustee would be compelled to follow with regard to the way that you want the assets distributed to the beneficiaries.
It is possible to name a responsible, trustworthy person with a good bit of business acumen to act as a living trust trustee. However, another option exists that many people find to be preferable. You could engage the services of a professional fiduciary like a trust company. Banks also have departments that provide trust administration services.
There are a number of different advantages that you gain if you utilize a corporate trustee. You don’t have to worry about the longevity of the trustee, and you can be certain that the assets in the trust would be handled by a steady, professional hand. No conflicts of interest would exist, and the company would provide inherent oversight.
Our Firm Can Help
If you are ready to put an estate plan in place, or if you would like to adjust your existing plan, our firm can help.
We offer no obligation consultations, and you can get in touch through our contact page or call us at 908-222-8803 to set up an appointment.