VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Independent executors may help with estate planning

Parents who want to leave property behind to care for their children after they die could benefit from setting explicit terms for how their estates ought to be distributed. Although some parents want to keep these affairs in the family, siblings in Florida and other states may be less inclined to work things out after their parents are gone and their own livelihoods depend on the assets they receive.

Experts say that in some cases, mourning family members make poor financial decisions that compromise the distribution of estate assets. Although being compassionate towards siblings and other beneficiaries can help, goodwill isn't guaranteed to stop estate disputes from going to court for resolution. Probate courts may choose one of the beneficiaries as an executor barring the objections of other involved parties, so naming one beforehand may help testators head off arguments and unhappiness.

Some parents appoint their oldest children as will executors when they know they're close to death. Others rely on independent third parties to serve as fiduciary professionals and structure their wills to define exactly how their properties ought to be divided. In the absence of such mechanisms, children and other beneficiaries might be forced to petition the court system to appoint someone as an executor.

Proper estate planning involves more than simply making wills or trusts. To ensure these tools function as intended, their creators need to plan for tax obligations and unique beneficiary needs, such as ongoing medical care costs or education funding. It can also be difficult for parents and others to separate their emotional attachments from the estate planning process. An attorney who has experience with these matters can often provide an objective viewpoint.

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