Estate Agents - Settling a Probate Estate or Trusts
Estate agents refer to a person in charge of settling a probate estate or trust. This person is entrusted with fiduciary obligations and responsible for distribution of inheritance gifts to heirs. They are in charge of every aspect of estate administration to ensure your final wishes are met.
Estate agents should be someone you trust explicitly. Sometimes, they need to make tough decisions or act as a mediator if family disputes over inheritance arise. Depending on the circumstances and types of property involved, agents might require assistance from lawyers.
You can make the job of estate settlement easier for your estate agent by executing a last will and testament. This document is required for both probated estates and trusts. Probate is always the process used to settle decedent estates unless property is transferred to a trust.
When a person passes away and leaves a Will the probate process is relatively swift. Estate agents file the Will and death certificate through the court and the probate case is opened. Much of what follows is filing paperwork to notify creditors and government entities of the passing and to transfer titled property.
All assets must be safeguarded throughout probate. Agents are responsible for acquiring property appraisals for estate and inheritance tax purposes. Any property with designated beneficiaries does not have to go through probate. Assets can be dispersed once specific forms are obtained and filed through the court.
Titled property can bypass probate as long as the property is jointly owned. There are different types of titles and various ways to establish beneficiaries. It's best to consult with a probate attorney to guarantee real estate, automobiles, and business assets can easily transfer. Otherwise, your estate agent might have a hard time straightening out confusion.
Discovering you've been named as an estate agent is a surprise few people desire. The job can be stressful and time-consuming. Some people are too emotionally distraught to properly handle the responsibilities. Others don't want to deal with the detailed record keeping requirements or filing forms with government agencies and financial institutions.
Although estate agents are compensated for performed duties the pay rarely covers the time involved. Additionally, being in this position can ostracize people from family members. It's surprising how many feuds breakout over who should be in charge of settling a loved one's estate.
Being an estate agent for a trust is generally much easier than settling probated estates. With trusts everything is essentially taken care of. Agents simply follow directives and file appropriate paperwork. Estates are usually settled in a matter of weeks instead of months as with probate.
It's always a good idea to discuss the idea of appointing estate agents with family members before including their name in the Will. If no one is willing to accept the position or if appointing someone evokes family discord, consider hiring a lawyer or estate planner to settle the estate on your behalf.
Certainly the costs are higher, but the process can sometimes be completed more efficiently when skilled professionals are involved. Not to mention, it can minimize risks for having heirs contest the Will.
Estate agents play an integral role in estate management. Appointing someone to this position is an important decision. We invite you to learn more about Wills, probate and trusts and discover ways to easily put plans into action by reading through our estate planning article library. We publish new articles weekly, so take a moment to subscribe to our mailing list to receive notifications.