The process of estate administration is something to take into consideration when you are devising your estate plan. Executing legal documents can seem like the long and short of it, but there is a human element. Someone has to make your wishes come to fruition after you pass away. If you use a last will as the centerpiece of your estate plan, this person would be the executor or executrix.
An executor is a male estate administrator, and an executrix is a female. We will use the term executor here for the sake of simplicity.
You may envision the executor reading the last will to interested parties, with monetary distributions coming shortly thereafter. In fact, this is not the way that it works. When a last will is used as a vehicle of asset transfer, it must be admitted to probate.
During probate, the court supervises the administration of the estate. This is not inherently negative in any way, and probate does provide certain protections. At the same time, this process is not always going to make things easy on the rightful heirs to the estate.
One of the probate drawbacks is the matter of time. The process of probate will take a considerable amount of time, even if there are no particular complications. In most areas, the probate process will take around nine months to a year, and more complicated cases can take considerably longer.
The heirs to the estate cannot receive their inheritances while the court is probating the estate, so this time lag can present problems.
Time consumption is one pitfall, and inheritance absorption is another. There are various different costs that accumulate during the probate process, and as money is being spent, the amount of the inheritances that will be received by the heirs is being reduced.
Lost privacy is another pitfall. When an estate is passing through probate, the records are available to the general public. Anyone who wants to dig into your final affairs can find out how you decided to distribute your resources.
This can be disconcerting in a general sense, but more specifically, certain individuals could be dismayed by your decisions. As a result, acrimony can ensue among extended family members and/or associates.
When all the probate tasks have been completed, the executor would be empowered to distribute the resources that comprise the estate to the heirs that are named in the last will.
Learn More About Estate Administration
We have provided some basic information in this blog post, but if you would like to learn more about estate administration, download our special report. This comprehensive, in-depth report is free, and you can visit this page to access your copy: Estate Administration Report.