From the Desk of Probate Attorney, San Diego, Kristina R. Hess
As you put together your will or trust, you should also take time to learn how the administration process works.
Once you are no longer here, the persons you choose to manage your Trust (your Trustees) or the Executor of your Will will have a very important job.
Having an estate plan is critical to making this process easier, but a Trust still needs to be administered by the Trustee and if all you have is a will, then a San Diego probate court proceeding may be required.
You should prepare your executor of your estate thoroughly, as they will be the one to oversee your end-of-life affairs.
First and foremost, make sure the individual you choose as an executor actually wants the job and will be able to perform the tasks involved.
You may consider the designation of executor as a badge of honor, but it’s possible they could see it as a burden. This means you will probably want to choose someone else who can do the job willingly and well.
Once chosen, discuss the contents of your estate plan with your executor, as well as with family members and friends who may be affected. Advance planning helps avoid surprises later on and smoothing family dynamics now is a great way to avoid fighting and expensive will contests later.
Letting the executor also know of potentially upsetting aspects of the estate plan can help them be prepared for trouble if they will at some point be a bearer of bad news.
The executor’s capabilities can also be bolstered by meeting with an estate planning lawyer, who after your death will walk the executor through exactly what is expected of him or her, not only from you, but from the state and federal government. This may include paying taxes, getting appraisals, dealing with court costs, paying off debt and so on.
The bottom line is that you should not neglect to educate your chosen executor about the ins and outs of their job and what they will be required to do after you pass away.
Doing so will cut down on family drama and any unnecessary struggles and hardships that may arise when you are gone.
Create Legacies that last and prepare your trustees and executors.
Kristina R. Hess
Probate Lawyer, San Diego, Estate planning attorney