You have to make a myriad of decisions when planning your estate, and it is important to understand the gravity attached to each one. There are legal instruments that must be utilized, and this is part of the equation. There are also some human elements. You will be selecting individuals to handle important matters concerning your affairs and your estate when you’re either not around or incapable of doing so.
If you decide to use a last will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer you must appoint an executor or personal representative. There is considerable time and effort required to effectively administer your estate. In many cases there will be creditors that must be satisfied. There will be final tax bills, often requiring the assistance of an accountant. The executor will need the guidance of an experienced probate attorney. The matter of estate liquidation must be handled. Before that can be done your executor will need to enlist the assistance of an appraiser or appraisers and a company that specializes in completing hands-on liquidation tasks.
As you can see, the executor will lot on his or her plate. This individual will need a good bit of business acumen as well as the free time it takes to devote to completing all of these tasks. Keep these factors in mind when selecting your executor.
You will also have to identify suitable representatives when you’re engaged in incapacity planning. This involves choosing individuals to act as attorneys-in-fact to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. This too is an important matter and you must be very selective when choosing your representatives. It is also a good idea to communicate your decisions with interested family members so there are no disagreements or misunderstandings among your loved ones if and when these agents are required to act.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday