Your Source for Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Business Transactions for over 35 years!

How to Choose the Right Trustee or Executor

Estate Administration, Trust AdministrationNo Comments

choice e1336511185349 How to Choose the Right Trustee or ExecutorWhen creating an estate plan, many parents wonder if they should name the oldest child as executor or trustee.  While we certainly understand the thinking behind that choice, what should be guiding your choice is not birth order, but who will do the best job.

Here are some guidelines on how to select the best executor or trustee:

Estate size.  The larger the estate, the bigger the job to manage it.  If you need someone with expertise to manage assets for beneficiaries, you should choose someone with financial prowess or with the management skills to engage expert help.  The person you choose also needs to be well organized and disciplined, with the ability to do what is best for all beneficiaries.

Family dynamics.  If you have more than one child and plan to choose one over the others, this could create conflict.  First, be sure the child you are choosing really wants the job.  If this is confirmed as your best choice, sit down with your other children and explain your thinking and why the child you have chosen has the skills for the job.

Outside counsel.  You do have the option to choose a corporate trustee to manage a trust, which means you would have someone with the legal and financial expertise to manage the trust assets and the impartiality to fairly assess requests and distribute assets.  You will need to weigh the benefits versus the fees the trust will have to pay if you choose this option.

We can help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing an executor or a trustee; contact our Orange County law firm for more information.

3 Reasons to Hire a Probate Attorney

Estate Administration, ProbateNo Comments

help button 150x150 3 Reasons to Hire a Probate AttorneyIf you are an executor of an estate, you hopefully take the job seriously enough to want to do the best possible job – and to ensure that all your actions are in accordance with California law.

This can be a primary motivation for trying to do everything yourself, thinking you will be saving the estate money in the long run.  And while some simple estates can be administered without any professional help, there are three instances when it is in the best interest of an executor to hire a probate attorney:

When there is family discord.  Disagreements among family members over an estate can prove to be a major headache for an estate administrator.  If there is a potential for a will contest – a process that can drain assets from the estate and take a long time to settle – it will be better for all involved to involve an experienced probate lawyer.

When there is a lot of debt.  If the estate is financially sound, an executor will usually be able to satisfy all debts.  However, if an estate cannot pay its debts, the executor may find it difficult to make decisions about who gets paid what.  The law does give certain creditors priority over others, and a probate attorney can help you discern which debts should be paid first.

When the estate includes a business.  If the estate contains a business, it complicates the process – and the more complicated things get, the more you need professional guidance.  Business assets will likely need to be valued, managed or sold off, and you will welcome professional help if this is the case.

If you need help with estate administration or probate, contact our Orange County law firm.