Probate, Estate and Trust Administration
After you are gone, the person you appoint to administer your estate or trust will be the person responsible for ensuring that your wishes are carried out as intended. Their job is to enact the plans you put in place via your will, trusts, and other end-of-life documents to ensure everything happens in a timely manner. Bad administration can result in lost money, destruction of property, declining real estate values, and family discord.
Choosing the Right Person or Professional
The only rule in Florida is that the executor/personal resident of an estate must be a Florida resident or a blood relative. There are no regulations around who can administer a trust. That openness provides a lot of flexibility for families when choosing who should handle an elder’s affairs, but it also opens the door to some questionable choices. Knowing you have chosen the right person to administer your affairs after your gone can bring tremendous peace of mind to both you and your family, and there are certain choices that are more appropriate than others depending on your situation.
What to Look for in a Family Member
Any family member you choose to administer your affairs after your death should be a responsible individual. This should be someone you know and trust to follow through with tasks and resolve things quickly. They should also be someone who knows and understands your wishes and will honor them after your passing. This person does not have to be a lawyer either; you can appoint someone to administer your estate and then have them find personal representation to ensure they have the guidance they need to properly administer things.
If your estate is simple, your trusts are straightforward, and you do not expect probate to be complicated, a family member can be the perfect choice.
When to Use a Professional
Hiring a professional to administer your affairs can be an excellent choice unless the size of your estate simply means you can’t afford one. At Millman Law Group, however, we strive to give everyone this option and offer free consultations to determine whether our administration services would make sense for your situation.
There are certain situations when not hiring a trained professional may be detrimental to your affairs:
- If your estate is particularly large or complicated.
- If you have many trusts that require professional overseeing.
- If you have several trusts that already have professional administration.
- When your family is not in agreement, especially if you believe they won’t honor your wishes.
- If there is no one in your family that you trust to properly handle your affairs.
- If your plan involves dynasty trusts or careful tax planning that would be better administered by a legal entity than a single person.
- When your tax situation is unresolved.
- If you have a family business involved.
- When you have real estate holdings that are either many or complex.
- When your heirs cannot agree over how to proceed with selling an asset such as a family home.
In addition to these reasons, hiring a professional can simply give your family space to grieve.
We offer professional administration here at Millman Law Group, but you do not need to hire a law firm either. A CPA, attorney, and trust company are all perfectly valid choices for the role.
For More on Probate, Estate, and Trust Administration, Contact Us
We offer free consultations for new clients and can walk you through the pros and cons of different choices for administering your affairs. Contact us today for more.