The loss of a loved one affects the whole surviving family. However, not everyone has the same say when it comes to carrying out the decedent’s final desires. In the administration of a will, the executor, or personal representative of the estate, performs a function. The trustee is in charge of the trust’s accounts and property, as well as administering, investing, and distributing them. You are in charge of making sure the trust and estate administration proceeds well.
Roles in Executing the Will & Trust
- The testator is the person who creates a last will and testament to be carried out upon their death.
- The trustmaker is the person who creates a trust.
- The executor (or personal representative) is appointed to fulfill the testator’s wishes following their will.
- The trustee is the person who administers the trust on behalf of the trustor.
- A beneficiary is a person (or business entity) who receives accounts or property from a will or trust.
- An heir is someone entitled to receive a decedent’s property under a state’s default laws when the decedent dies without a will.
The term “fiduciary” is also crucial to grasp in the context of will and trust administration.
A fiduciary is a person who has been given legal power to act in another’s best interests. Fiduciaries include executors and trustees. They have been given legal power to distribute the testator’s or trustor’s estate accounts and property by the testator, trustmaker, or the court. The legal obligation of a fiduciary, often known as a fiduciary duty, goes beyond the estate. Fiduciaries must also operate in the beneficiaries’ best interests.
Attorney Representation: When you engage an attorney, you become the client; the attorney has a legal obligation to you and solely follows your instructions. If you invite a family member to a meeting with you and your attorney, make it plain to them that the attorney is solely representing you as executor.
Keeping the Beneficiaries Up-to-Date: Executors and trustees have a fiduciary obligation to keep beneficiaries informed about the status of their estate or trust administration. The majority of executors engage an attorney to assist them in carrying out the provisions of these legal instruments. The attorney is not allowed to provide legal advice or act on behalf of the beneficiaries.
Setting Up Your First Meeting: If you are currently serving as an executor or trustee and need assistance navigating the administration, please give us a call. We are happy to sit down with you, discuss the process, and help guide you through the following steps.