Finding the time, energy and motivation to create an estate plan is small feat. Yet, successful creation of one of these plans is just the start of the asset distribution process. In fact, an estate administrator plays a significant role in this process, as he or she has a number of duties that must be carried out carefully to ensure that the estate’s integrity is protected.
So what does an estate administrator do? Generally speaking, he or she is charged with dispersing an estate’s assets upon an individual’s passing and once all estate debts are paid. That may sound easy enough, but the truth of the matter is that these tasks can be enormously difficult. Assets may be difficult to find and value, family members may be challenging to locate and disputes may arise with regard to how assets should be distributed. This means that the administration process can take months or even years.
Of course, a thorough estate plan can help alleviate many of these problems. A clearly defined will and, if desired, trusts, can spell out the assets included in an asset and how they should be divided. The issues usually arise when an individual dies without a clear estate plan, as this requires the matter to go through probate. Here, the court will appoint an administrator, which may or may not be problematic. It is worth noting, though, that difficulties with estate administration can be costly, thereby eating into the value of the estate and the assets that can be passed on to beneficiaries and heirs.
However, as mentioned above, many issues associated with estate distribution can be avoided with competent planning. An attorney who is experienced in this area of the law will know how to recognize any potential pitfalls within an estate plan and how to avoid them. This is why many New Yorkers have chosen to work with legal teams who can help them ensure that their plans for estate distribution come to fruition.