Here in Part 2 of Estate Trustee Administration 101 we’ll look at what makes a Successful Estate Trustee and what to do as you navigate the 15 Main Duties discussed in Part 1 of this series. I won’t sugar coat things, sometimes deceased relatives can leave us with a tangled mess! Don’t get me wrong, there ARE those who plan well and think about the impact their passing will have on their trustee. Regardless, the role of trustee may feel overwhelming, inconvenient or worse. Add the loss and grief, and it can all be too much.
A Note to Everyone: Show your loved ones how much you care and PLAN AHEAD! Get your living trust, your will, those powers of attorney for medical affairs and finances in order – Take care NOW in order to make things easier on those you love… Later.
What Makes a Successful Estate Trustee?
The ability or organize details and ask for support! Chances are that the Settlor chose you as their estate trustee for a reason. They likely know you to be someone who could get things done, keep the peace or weather the storm. Just remember, to take care of yourself in the process. And keep your friends handy! A good dinner out, a pick-up game at the neighborhood court or a bike ride, hike or getaway with friends to decompress and let off some steam… A VERY good thing!
The good news is that you are fully up to the task. Think of this as series of “To Dos” and simply start chipping away your list one by one. Reach out to friends and family members for emotional support… And remember to laugh! Keep your stress level low and seek professional legal help. You may be thinking, “That costs money!” – Yes it does. AND it likely gets done in a far more effective way and with less wear and tear on YOU!
Smart Estate Trustees Know When to Ask for Help
Sure you could put you head down and bulldoze through the tasks at hand, however, the smart estate trustee asks for help. Your attorney is a great resource. They have done this before and can make your job as estate trustee easier. There is no need to make it difficult. At least look into the actual cost to really lean into your attorney for your situation before you draw any conclusions – After all, YOUR peace of mind, free time and relaxation are all worth something, and it may be more favorable, and make more sense than you think.
How do Estate Trustees Find a Trust and Estate Specialist?
If you do not have an attorney or are unable to (or would rather not) use the one who drew up the Trust, start with your friends. Ask those you trust who they would recommend and about their professional experience with that attorney. Check online, read reviews, do some research.
The good ones have likely seen it all and this estate, no matter how complex to you, is something with which they are familiar. Look for an attorney with specific legal expertise in the area of trust administration. They will know how you can best tend to the items on this list, know what else is needed and can provide you with assistance obtaining the forms and preparing all the documentation you’ll require.
The Best News of All – Your attorney is typically the one who handles most of the tasks outlined in that list of 15 Main Duties of an Estate Trustee! Whew!
We hope that this sets your mind at ease. See, you CAN do this!
Please note: The information in this post is an overview of what can be expected of an estate trustee. It is not meant to be a comprehensive guide. I encourage you to write down your questions and concerns and reach out to an attorney with extensive experience in living trusts and estate administration.
If you live in San Jose, Peninsula or South Bay Area, feel free to be in touch! I am simply a phone call or email away! You are welcome to print this Free 30 Minute Legal Consultation and use it to get some of your initial questions answered at no charge. I look forward to hearing from you.
This blog contains general information and is not meant to apply to a specific situation. Please seek advice of counsel before proceeding as each case is unique.