Most Americans have not taken the time to put the necessary estate planning documents in place. This is a statistic that must change, because a lot of families pay a hefty price when their loved ones were remiss about making preparations for the inevitable.
This initial estate plan will include a vehicle of asset transfer, durable powers of attorney, and advance directives at minimum. This is the first step. But when you take this first step you may want to consider what takes place after someone passes away.
The documents that you execute will provide instructions regarding your wishes, but in and of themselves they are just that, a set of instructions. Someone has to complete all the hands-on tasks if these final wishes are to become concrete in reality.
This is the matter of estate administration. When you are speaking with your attorney initially about an estate plan you should also discuss the matter of estate administration.
If you choose to use a last will to direct future asset transfers the process of probate is a factor to consider. You need to select an executor or executrix to administer the estate, and this administration will be done under the supervision of the probate court.
This representative will usually need the assistance of an attorney. The intelligent course of action would be to arrange for the lawyer that you worked with to draw up the estate plan to act as the probate lawyer after your passing.
Your executor would simply take a moment to contact your attorney at the time of your passing and a fully informed professional will be at the ready to assist.
Though assets distributed through a living trust are not subject to the probate process, trust administration also requires legal guidance. So, a similar dynamic would exist if you use a trust. Your family makes a single phone call to your attorney and trust administration support is immediately going to be available.