Wake up and Prepare your Executor or Trustee to Administer your Will or Trust in San Diego
As an individual puts together his or her estate plan, there is a need to really think about how it will be administered. California Wills and trusts administration can be a complex process, although having an estate plan in place is without a doubt one of the best ways to simplify it. Another way to improve the outcome of the administration is to thoroughly prepare your executor or successor Trustee for the job ahead of them.
In California we call executors and successor trustees “Personal Representatives.” In San Diego Personal Representatives are called on to take care of many different details related to administering a will or trust. In order to improve that person’s efficiency and make the most of your estate plan, start by talking with the person you want to perform the job and make sure that he or she is willing and able to do so. It’s possible that you could name someone as the executor of the estate intending it to be an honor, but without briefing them in advance, that person might actually feel like it is a burden or unwanted responsibility. Keep in mind that this doesn’t make the person uncaring, rather, it allows you to name someone who will do the job willingly and well. For many people they just don’t have time in their lives to step into another’s shoes and either wind up their affairs or administer them over an extended period of time.
You can also smooth the process for the executor by actually discussing the contents of your estate plan with him or her, as well as with other family members and friends who will be affected. It’s hard to foresee what kinds of problems could arise during will or trust administration, so laying things out in advance can help avoid surprises later. Family dynamics are an incredibly personal and complicated thing, and the estate plan will likely need to take them into consideration. So, if one family member has a problem with addiction, a grandchild has a disability, or one sibling is substantially wealthier than others, these are all possible reasons a plan might not look the way everyone expected. Your goal of protecting more vulnerable family members could be perceived as unfair by those who don’t ‘need’ the help but feel distributions should be equal. Preparing them, and the executor, can avoid drama later—including but not limited to discouraging someone from trying to contest your will or trust.
Keeping your executor, or successor trustee, apprised of potentially upsetting aspects of the estate plan can help them navigate the will or trust administration later, especially since they will be clear on your intentions and therefore better armed to carry them out. Their abilities can also be bolstered by introducing them to your estate planning lawyer who can help them to really understand what will be expected of them and give them insight into things like taxes, court costs, paying off debt, and so on. With a little guidance up front, family conflicts can be reduced and your will or trust’s administration can run as smoothly as possible.
At the Weissler Law Group we work to make certain our Clients' wishes are carried out and family conflicts are minimized or avoided. We can be reached at (619) 281-1888