As you prepare to go through the process of probating a loved one’s estate, it is important to set reasonable expectations. When the process does not go as smoothly as you might expect, you can easily feel frustrated by the rules, processes, and waiting periods involved. Conversely, if you are unnecessarily apprehensive about probate, you may feel too overwhelmed to think clearly about the process.
If you are ready to speak with an attorney about your estate plan, one of the first things you will need to understand is the difference between a will and a trust. While both are fundamental estate planning tools you can use to distribute your assets after your death, each can serve a number of other purposes as well, and each offers different kinds of benefits.
An important part of the estate planning process involves choosing an executor (or “personal representative”) who will be responsible for administering your final affairs. Among other tasks, an executor handles probate (to the extent necessary), works to satisfy your estate’s obligations to your creditor and distributes your remaining assets to your chosen beneficiaries. Due to the importance of the executor’s role, it is critical to choose someone you trust to fulfill these duties faithfully and in compliance with the law. But what if the person you trust most is also someone to whom you wish to leave a portion of your estate? Can you name someone as your executor and a beneficiary? Or does this create an impermissible conflict of interest?
There are situations in which parents become unable to care for their children. It could be due to injury or illness, the result of an addiction, or allegations of abuse. Placing the child into the care of another responsible adult is often the best way to ensure the child is protected and cared for. When done on a voluntary basis, establishing a temporary guardianship is less complicated than seeking permanent child custody, and it allows all parties to work at eventually reuniting the parent and the child.