Estate Planning and Estate Administration

Estate Planning and Estate Administration

Let’s examine estate planning and estate administration. There is very little certainty in life apart from the unfortunate eventualities of both death and taxation. In its simplest form, estate planning allows an individual to leave an official set of instructions for what is to happen with their property when they pass away, as well as to nominate a trusted person to act as representative and carry out those instructions.

Estate Planning

“Our new constitution is established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can said to be certain except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, 1789

Building from that foundation, the attorneys of Barry, Corrado, Grassi, can help you create and implement a plan for your estate and give you peace of mind when it comes to what happens after you pass away.

The key to a good plan is thorough consideration of the complexities of a person’s estate. Our firm is here to help you navigate these matters, including:

  • Providing instructions to your loved ones for what you would like to happen to your property and assets;
  • Appointing a trusted person to administer your estate;
  • Naming guardian to care for any minor children;
  • Minimizing estate taxes and costs of administration;
  • Providing for the transfer of a family business;
  • Creating trusts to help care for children or loved ones with special needs;
  • Preparing your formal Last Will and Testament;
  • Preparing a Power of Attorney, which will allow another to act on your behalf;
  • Creating an Advance Directive (sometimes called a “Living Will”) to give instructions on how you feel about your medical care.

Every person has an estate though few people plan for how their estate is to be managed, leaving it to loved ones to figure everything out. Our firm is here to help you plan for the inevitable and give you, and your loved ones, the peace of mind of a well laid out plan.

Estate Administration

The loss of a loved one is possibly the most trying time someone can endure. If you have been named as the executor of an estate, an estate administration professional can help you to find your way through the process of probate, satisfying tax requirements, the payment of debts, and the distribution of assets. Acting as an executor or administrator of an estate can be a difficult job with many responsibilities, and Barry, Corrado, Grassi is here to assist you.

The administration of an estate can be a daunting task if you have not gone through it before. What is probate? What is the difference between an “executor” and an “administrator?” What is the Surrogate Court and what do they do? How do I get all of this done? If you are faced with any of these questions, we can help.

When a person passes away, all of his or her possessions become part of an “estate,” whether it be bank accounts, real estate, antiques, cars – anything that person owns. Someone must gather all of the information about a decedent’s assets, pay their remaining debts , pay applicable taxes, and distribute the remaining assets to the heirs. Where the decedent left a will, the person responsible for all of this is called an “executor.” When a person passes away without a will all of these jobs still need to be done, only in this case the person responsible would be called an “administrator.”

A few aspects of estate administration with which our firm can assist you include:

  • Opening probate with the county’s Surrogate Court;
  • Getting the executor or administrator of an estate qualified with the Surrogate Court;
  • Marshalling the assets of an estate;
  • Seeing that just debts and taxes are paid;
  • Coordinating distributions to heirs;
  • Providing an accounting of an estate, whether formal or informal; and
  • Protecting an estate’s representatives from disputes.

Whether you are planning for your estate, are administering an estate, or are an heir of an estate with questions, contact our office today to discuss how the attorneys of Barry, Corrado, Grassi can assist you.