Who is the right person to wind up your affairs when you die?
When you die, who gets the job of winding up your affairs? Do you know? Have you taken steps to select the right person?
Often people don’t really think about who should handle their affairs when they die and they name obvious persons: a spouse, child, sibling, or friend. Does that person really have the skills to understand the steps required to do the job properly?
The person selected to handle the financial matters for a deceased person is called a Trustee, Personal Representative, Executor or Administrator.
Their first duty is to act as a fiduciary. A fiduciary has the power and obligation to act for another (the decedent and the beneficiaries of the estate) under circumstances which require total trust, good faith and honesty.
Other duties include:
- Duty to administer the estate according to the terms of the Last Will and Testament or Trust Agreement and if there is no written plan, then according to the terms provided in the Probate Code laws.
- Duty to give notices to the beneficiaries of the estate.
- Duty to furnish information and to communicate with the beneficiaries.
- Duty to account by gathering up assets, paying bills and investing funds.
- Duty to avoid a conflict of interest and not self-deal.
- Duty to enforce and defend claims.
- Duty of confidentiality.
- Duty to distribute assets.
This is just a partial list of duties of this very important job.
In summary, the person selected to administer an estate needs to be responsible and detail-oriented. Often it is best to use a professional administrator, such as a Bank Trust department, Lawyer or Certified Public Accountant, rather than a friend or family members.
Does the person you selected to handle your affairs after you die have the skills required to administer your estate properly?
******************** UPCOMING SEMINAR ********************
Free public seminar – Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Join us for this informative seminar, sponsored by Susan M. Graham, to help you understand ways to create your Estate Plan and at the same time increase your retirement security – bring a friend or two!
For more information and to register, Click Here or call 344-0375.