How to Choose an Executor or Successor Trustee with Your Atlanta Estate Lawyer

How to Choose an Executor or Successor Trustee with Your Atlanta Estate Lawyer

 

 

Atlanta Estate Lawyer

The decision of who to appoint as your executor or trustee is a huge one, and we’ve talked about it a bit in the past.  Still, it’s important to make sure that you have the information you need to make the right choice with your Atlanta estate lawyer.  This person will hold incredible responsibility for overseeing what becomes of your estate, and you want your choice to reflect this.

It’s not unusual to name your spouse as the executor or trustee, but there are certainly other options.  You may determine that one of your adult children is a good choice or prefer to have a family friend in charge.  In some cases, you may even place an attorney in the role.  No matter who you choose, you’ll want to also list an alternate in case there is some reason your first choice is unable to take care of the duties required.

Some things to consider when choosing your executor or successor trustee:

  • The process of closing an estate can take a very long time, so you want to choose someone who will be committed to following through.
  • The person chosen will have access to your finances, and there are opportunities to abuse the trust placed in him or her.  For this reason, among others, you want to choose a representative in whom you have complete trust.
  • There are many details and conflicting interests that will need to be managed during the process, so you want to choose someone who is organized and able to juggle these responsibilities.
  • Dealing with the estate requires working with a wide range of people and institutions.  The person you choose to represent you must be able to clearly communicate with all of them.
  • Because there are a lot of financial considerations to be made, it’s also best to choose someone who is responsible with money and has a decent grasp of how to manage it.
  • The person chosen will likely need to spend time in your home or business, going to court, meeting with attorneys, etc.  For this reason, estate lawyers in Atlanta will often recommend you choose a representative who is physically available, possibly even someone living in the area.

Finally, you want to ensure that the person you name to handle your estate is willing to take on the job.  It’s best to discuss the responsibilities and expectations with him or her to make sure it’s something the person feels up to taking on.  Spouses or children may feel like they would be unable to do the job in the midst of their grief, others may just not want the responsibility.  By discussing it with them before having your Atlanta estate lawyer name them in your documents, you won’t be adding an extra burden to someone who isn’t able to accept it.

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So You’ve Been Named the Trustee of a Trust…Now What?

So You’ve Been Named the Trustee of a Trust…Now What?

trust adminstration assistanceMany of you who have been asked by a family member of close friend to serve as the trustee of a trust are honored that the trust owner feels confident in relying on their good judgment to undertake this important responsibility.  And it’s very likely you have no idea what you have just said yes to take on.

Being a trustee means that you are responsible for all oversight and direction of the assets of the Trust.  As a Trustee, you have what is known as a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of that trust.  There are laws you must abide by in administering the trust, in addition to the terms of the trust that set out your duties as trustee.

A trustee’s duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Administering the trust according to its terms
  • Communicating with beneficiaries about the various activities of the trust.
  • Investing and managing trust assets in a prudent manner
  • Accounting for and paying any taxes or fees
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries as outlined in the trust
  • Making an accounting of trust assets, liabilities, receipts and disbursements to beneficiaries.

As a Trustee, you may find yourself involved with the probate process at some point and have to go into Court to marshal assets. If some of the assets of the estate were not properly transferred into the trust, this process can be overwhelming, especially if you do not have prior experience in this area.

Thankfully, with a good Atlanta trusts administration lawyer on board, you do not have to navigate this process alone. Engaging experienced legal help is always the best option for trustees, with the trust being responsible for any fees incurred for legal services.

If you would like some guidance on trust administration or planning for smooth administration of an estate, call our Marietta trust administration lawyer office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but if you mention this article and we still have room on our calendar this month, we will waive that fee. Call us today at 770-425-6060 and mention this article.

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