When most New York families turn their attention to estate planning, they often consider how to distribute their accumulated assets. Unfortunately, less consideration is given to choosing which family member will actually handle the administration of the estate. In order to avoid trust and estate litigation matters, families must take the time to determine who should be designated as the estate administrator.
One common approach is to simply name the oldest child. This may work for some families, but it is not a universal solution. Instead of making a decision based on birth order, parents should consider which of their children is best equipped to handle the responsibilities and duties of estate administration. Often, another child has demonstrated the financial savvy and responsibility required for this important task.
The dynamics between adult children should also be taken into consideration. In some families, siblings are able to work together to reach a mutually beneficial outcome. For others, however, collaboration is simply not their strong suit. In such cases, professional estate administration should be considered. That option provides a neutral third party professional who is experienced in handling all aspects of estate administration, which takes the burden off the shoulders of surviving children.
Creating a comprehensive estate planning package is a worthy goal. However, unless a New York family has also made the proper arrangements for estate administration, there is a risk that trust and estate litigation matters could ensue. Families who would like to learn more about the available options should contact an estate planning attorney to discuss their specific set of circumstances and work toward a solution.
Source: fdlreporter.com, "Easing the Burden: Family dynamics should be considered in estate planning", Isabelle Mueller, Oct. 27, 2016