Know the role of the fiduciary of an estate when estate planning

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2023 | Estate Planning And Administration |

There are many factors to consider when taking the necessary step of estate planning in New York. Most will think about their own situation and decide whether they need a will, a trust, a guardianship and other key aspects of a comprehensive plan.

A crucial part of that is to understand how the testator’s property will be distributed. Knowing the role played by the fiduciary of an estate is imperative whether the case goes through probate, it is completed via administration or it is a voluntary administration. Since this can be somewhat confusing, it is a good idea to have professional help.

A fiduciary of an estate has major responsibilities

The fiduciary oversees the distribution of assets whether probate is needed or the case is settled through administration. Probate is the process where the will is proved as valid. After that, the person who was named as the testator’s representative – the executor – will dole out the property as the will states.

For cases where the person did not create a will and died intestate, it can be more complex. In such a circumstance, the case will go to administration. An administrator will be named. Generally, it is their closest relative. However, these types of situations are rife with dispute, particularly if the person had valuable property and a litany of people who might lay claim to it.

Some cases do not have vast property and it can be a small estate proceeding. This is for people who had an estate worth less than $50,000. With that, there will be a voluntary administration. A will is irrelevant in these circumstances.

Regardless of whether it is a case with an executor or an administrator, the person tasked with serving in the role is a fiduciary. They are obligated to act in a way that is faithful to the estate. They cannot put their own interests ahead of those of the estate. Therefore, selecting someone who can effectively fulfill those responsibilities is a must.

Experienced, qualified help is essential with estate planning

Those who make an estate plan are doing so to make things easier after they have died. This is a protective device for their property and those who are going to inherit it. Having an estate plan is just one link in the chain. It is just as important to have a trustworthy and competent person to serve as their fiduciary.

At every step in the process, it is useful to have professional advice for estate planning and probate.