When you have a loved one who is writing an estate plan, they have to determine who is going to administer it. The person they name must be able to make decisions based on the current laws and the wishes of the creator. This isn’t always easy, but making sure the person understands their duties is imperative.
If you are the person who is chosen as the administrator of the estate, you should ensure that you understand what duties you have. One of the important designations here is that you only have to deal with probate assets. These are things that are controlled by the contents of the will.
You won’t have to deal with property that is held in joint tenancy or in living trusts. You also won’t have to deal with life insurance proceeds. Any account with a “payable on death” designation won’t go through the probate process either.
When you’re dealing with the estate, you will need to review the will. You must ensure that it is legally valid. You also have to ensure that it doesn’t include anything that is legally restricted. For example, a person can’t cut their spouse out of the will unless the spouse agrees to it.
There are times when an estate is so small that it won’t have to go through the probate process. If you think that the estate you are working with meets this criteria, you need to double check it to ensure that you didn’t miss anything that would push it over the limit.
Administering an estate is a complex undertaking. Regardless of the size of the estate, you must be sure that you are doing everything to comply with the laws so that you don’t cost the beneficiaries time or money.