There is more to estate planning than the choices that you make with regard to the way you want your assets to be distributed after you are gone. It is wise to think holistically and envision the hands-on tasks that must be completed to make your wishes come to fruition.
With this in mind, we will share some insight into how you can streamline the estate administration process. When you take the right steps, your loved ones will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
If you use a last will as the centerpiece of your estate plan, you would name an executor or personal representative to serve as the administrator. After your passing, the will would be admitted to probate, and the court would provide supervision during the administration process.
The executor would be charged with the responsibility of identifying and inventorying all the assets that will eventually be passed along to the people that are named in the document. In some cases, when there is a lot of property and multiple financial accounts, this can be easier said than done.
Another aspect that is inefficient is the probate process itself. Since creditors are given time to come forward seeking satisfaction, and the court has a caseload, it will typically take eight or nine months to year. No inheritances can be distributed until the estate has been probated and closed by the court.
Revocable Living Trusts
A revocable living trust can be the ideal alternative to a last will for a number of different reasons. We will cover all of them in a different blog post, but we will stay focused on the matter of estate administration here.
When you establish a revocable living trust, you do not lose any control at all, because you can act as the trustee and the beneficiary at first. In a very real sense, nothing changes with regard to your direct access to the resources.
To account for the events that will take place after you are gone, you name a successor trustee to act as the administrator. It can be someone that you know personally, but there is another option. Trust companies, banks, and some other entities provide professional fiduciary services, and this can be the right choice in some cases.
Your heirs would be the successor beneficiaries of the living trust. The idea is to make the trust the owner of all the property that will comprise your estate. Once again, this is largely a procedural step, because you would retain total control.
When the time comes, there would be no need for the trustee to go through a time-consuming and tedious asset identification process. The resources would be efficiently combined in one place, and this would greatly simplify the estate administration process.
Plus, you can account for any property that may remain in your personal possession at the time of your death. You can add a pour-over will, and this will allow these resources to be absorbed by the living trust.
Access Our Estate Planning Worksheet
In addition to the hundreds of blog posts that you can access, we have many other written resources here on our website. One of them is our carefully prepared estate planning worksheet, and it is being offered free of charge.
You can learn a lot if you take the time to go through it, so we urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to build on your knowledge. To get your copy, visit our worksheet access page and follow the simple instructions.
We Are Here to Help!
It is wise to absorb all of the good information you can when you are devising a holistic plan for aging that will culminate in the passing of your legacy. However, at some point, it is time to take concrete action to put a custom crafted plan in place.
If that time is now, we are here to help. In light of the dangers that are presented by the novel coronavirus, we are offering consultations through live stream, videoconferencing, and teleconferencing. You can get the help that you need without going anywhere, so there is no reason to take pause.
To set the wheels in motion, give us a call at 860-548-1000. There is also a contact form on this website that you can use if you would prefer to reach out electronically.