Estate planning attorneys assist you with preparing your estate planning documents, including the creation of a last will and testament. While there are many different legal tools used to transfer your assets after your death, a last will and testament remains a popular option because it is a simple and comprehensive way to determine who will inherit.
When you make a last will and testament, you will not only need to specify who will inherit your assets, but you will also need to select an executor of an estate who will guide your estate through the probate process and who will facilitate the transfer of wealth.
Choosing an executor is a big deal because this is the person who will be in charge of managing your estate and taking care of the legal issues associated with transferring your assets. Frank & Kraft can help you to select the right executor by explaining what an executor’s obligations are and by helping you to determine the important considerations that matter when selecting your executor. For example, here are a few key things that you should be sure to consider when picking an executor.
The Executor Must Manage Your Assets During the Probate Process
The probate process can take around a year to complete, or longer, according to Investopedia. This means that there is a long break between the time when you pass away and the time when your heirs or beneficiaries actually take control over assets. You want your wealth to be carefully and responsibly managed during the interim by someone who you can trust and who has the know-how to manage your assets in an effective way. You will need to think about whether the person who you are considering selecting as the executor of an estate can live up to the responsibility of taking care of your property, investments, and other assets until the probate process has been completed.
The Executor Must Take Care of Tax Obligations for Your Estate
If you have a large estate, you may owe estate tax. Taxes may also be triggered by the transfer of your assets, and returns may need to be filed with the federal and state government. Tax issues can be complicated, and the consequences of noncompliance can be grave. You will need to make sure you have selected an executor of an estate who can actually fulfill obligations with the IRS and state taxing authorities. The executor of an estate can hire an attorney for help — and should hire a lawyer for help — but you still want someone competent enough with tax issues to have an understanding of what the requirements are and what is being done.
The Executor Must File Court Paperwork and Other Legal Documents
The probate process must be initiated by the executor of an estate. The executor of an estate needs to file the right forms in the correct court both to start the probate process and to move the process forward. The executor of an estate is also responsible for facilitating the formal transfer of asset ownership, which could mean taking steps to change titles and deeds. Again the executor of an estate should hire a lawyer for help, but it is preferable if the chosen executor has at least a basic understanding of what legal steps are being taken to probate the estate.
Getting Help from Estate Planning Attorneys in Selecting an Executor
Estate planning attorneys at Frank & Kraft will help you to understand exactly how the probate process works so you will know exactly what plans you need to make for the smooth transfer of your assets after you have passed on. We can also help you to make smart choices regarding the estate planning tools that you should use if you want to transfer assets outside of the probate process so some of your heirs or beneficiaries can inherit more quickly and some of your assets can pass to new owners in a more timely manner.
To find out about all of the services that our legal team can provide in taking control of your legacy and making a comprehensive estate plan, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 317-684-1100 or contact us online at any time to talk with an experienced member of our legal team about the best way to transfer your assets onto your loved ones.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.