Yes, you have to the state your final wishes in writing, but you should also consider the hands-on tasks that must be completed after you are gone. Attention to detail is key, and we provide some insight in this post.
Administration of a Will
If you use a will as your asset transfer vehicle, you would name an executor to act as the administrator. After your passing, the executor would be required to admit the will to probate, which is a court supervised process.
There are a number of different administrative tasks to complete, and there are procedural guidelines for the executor to follow. It can get somewhat complicated, and there is a certain degree of personal liability.
At the risk of overstating the obvious, you should make sure that the person that you are going to name as the executor is willing to take on the responsibility. You should consider anticipated longevity, and you can name an alternate to assume the role if it becomes necessary.
An alternate designation will provide an assurance, but it is best to make adjustments to your estate plan as soon as they become necessary. In addition to the possible passing of the executor, someone that is named as the beneficiary could predecease you.
The administrator of a trust is the trustee, and if you have a revocable living trust, you would act as the trustee while you are alive. When you establish the trust, you would name a successor trustee to administer the trust after you are gone.
If you are going to name an individual, the considerations are similar, but there is an added twist if the trust will remain active for an extended period of time. Many people use living trusts because they want to facilitate measured transfers on an incremental basis for a number of years.
Real or perceived conflicts of interest can enter the picture in some instances. The trustee will sometimes be given the latitude to make discretionary distributions to beneficiaries, so neutrality is key.
You have another option if you do not know anyone that fits the bill. There are professional fiduciaries that provide trustee services for a fee, and this can be the right choice in some cases.
Letter of Last Instruction
After your passing, the administrator will need access to all relevant documents and online accounts. There are also hand-to-mouth matters like the location of storage units and keys to property. You can share this information in a letter of last instruction.
Facilitate Legal Assistance
If you work with our firm to develop your estate plan, we would be perfectly positioned to assist your executor or trustee after your passing. You can simply share our contact information in the letter of last instructions and we will do the rest if we are called upon.
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There is no charge to attend our webinars, but we ask that you register in advance so we can reserve your spot. You can see the dates if you visit our webinar page, and when you identify the session that works for you, follow the simple instructions to register.
Need Help Now?
If you found your way to this site because you are ready to work with a Burlington, Vermont estate planning attorney to put a plan in place, we are here to help. We can gain an understanding of your legacy goals and implement a custom crafted approach that ideally suits your needs.
You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 802-879-7133.