Estate administration is the process of maintenance and distribution of assets after someone dies. This is done in agreement with either the will of the decedent (person who died) or state law.
The death of someone close to you is one of the most stressful things you can experience in life, and sorting through the surrounding emotional chaos is bad enough without dealing with a convoluted or missing will.
Oral wills and Holographic Wills are also rarely recognized in the U.S., so it is important to prepare an official, self-proving will. Getting your estate in order before you die ensures that your possessions will make a smoother transition into the hands of those you love and care for, and a good estate or trust lawyer can help you with several aspects of estate and trust law:
- Estate Planning;
- Estate Administration; and/or
- Drafting a Will or Trust.
Estate planning is the process of organizing your estate in preparation for your expected or unexpected death. Estate planning lawyers can assist you in choosing beneficiaries, planning for the care of your children, or even making arrangements for your funeral.
Most individuals who are single and under the age of 25 do not need to begin planning the division of their estate, but those who are in a position where they have a life partner or young children may find value in planning ahead. Estate planning can also help you determine the following areas in your estate and how they should be decided upon your death:
- How you should receive medical treatment;
- Organ donation;
- Who will make your legal and financial decisions if you are incapacitated;
- Who will care for your minor children;
- Who will take over your business interests; and/or
- Your funeral arrangements.
Creating the estate plan will mean tallying up all the different pieces of a person's individual wealth, including property owned, stocks, holdings, cash, savings, insurance policies, and health issues. People with disabilities need to create specific estate plans to meet their needs.
Many people create a will to begin the process of creating an estate plan. Next, they consider any assets they want to leave in trust and establish a trust for those assets. Trusts are established by a grantor, who assigns trustees and beneficiaries, as well as guidelines for the trust, and then moves wealth and gifts into the trust. An experienced lawyer can explain all your options and help you understand what types of wills or trusts are right for you and your family when creating your estate plan.