There is a good bit of business that must be conducted after you pass away so that your estate planning wishes can become a reality. This is the process of estate administration, and you should take this process into consideration when you are devising your estate plan.
If you use a living trust as your primary vehicle of asset transfer, trust administration will enter the picture. The person who administers a living trust is called the trustee. While you are alive and well, you can act as the trustee, and this ongoing control is part of the appeal.
Ultimately, you want the assets in the trust to get into the hands of the beneficiaries, so you name a successor trustee to assume the role after your passing.
The successor trustee can be someone that you know personally, but you could alternately use a professional fiduciary such as a trust company. There are certain advantages that can be gained when you use a corporate trustee. The trust would be administered in accordance with professional standards, there would be no conflicts of interest, and there would be no longevity concerns.
Plus, a corporate trustee would follow your instructions with regard to measured asset distributions without emotion. On the other hand, a family member or friend could potentially be more easily swayed by a spendthrift beneficiary’s pleas.
We have prepared an in-depth report on trust administration that you may want to access if you would like to learn more. The report is free, and you can click this link to access your copy: Trust Administration Report.
If you use a last will rather than a trust as an asset transfer vehicle, the person who will handle the estate administration duties is the executor or personal representative. You nominate an executor when you create a will. A personal representative would be appointed by the court if there was no executor nominated.
The executor would handle the business of the estate, but the overall administration would be supervised by the probate court.
You should consider all the tasks that must be undertaken by the executor when you are making a selection. The process can be time-consuming, and it can be a sensitive undertaking depending on the family dynamic.
There are also a number of business oriented tasks that must be completed, so you want to choose someone who has a good bit of business knowledge.
Once again, if you do not know anyone who would make a good executor, you could engage a professional fiduciary to administer the estate after your passing.
Attend a Free Estate Planning Workshop or Seminar
We regularly offer free estate planning seminars and workshops. To learn more and to reserve your seats, follow this link: Free Seminars and Workshops.