5 Reasons to Consider Using an Attorney as Your Trustee or Executor

The Chamberlain Law Firm

If you’re in the process of estate planning, choosing an executor or trustee is not always easy. You want to choose someone you can trust to fulfill your wishes and understand your personal preferences. Moreover, you want someone who is financially responsible. This is because your trustee or executor must maintain your assets, pay your debts, and make disbursements to your beneficiaries. Typically, it’s best to choose a reliable family member or friend. But you may not know anybody who is capable of handling this hefty responsibility. Or, you may not want to burden family members who have responsibilities of their own. If you are in New Jersey, appointing an experienced New Jersey estate attorney as your executor or trustee could be a sensible option.

We’ve written about how a New Jersey trust attorney can help a trustee. However, when is it appropriate for an attorney to serve in this role? In this article, the experienced attorneys at The Chamberlain Law Firm will go over important considerations when choosing your executor or trustee, and when and why it may be a good idea to appoint an attorney as your trustee or executor.

An Important Estate Planning Decision

Choosing someone to manage your assets after you are gone is an important decision and should not be taken lightly. There are many considerations when selecting someone for these responsibilities.

This person must be trustworthy and responsible. An executor or trustee does not have to be a financial professional. However, they will need to be accountable for all assets, debts, distributions, and other estate-related matters. Further, they may be called upon to make other critical decisions.

A good litmus test is whether this person is in good financial standing on their own. In New Jersey, courts may require an executor to be “bonded.” This is to guarantee that the debts will be satisfied and the assets distributed appropriately. If a bonding company feels that the person is a financial risk, they may not extend a bond to them.

You also want to name someone who is likely to outlive you. For this reason, it may not be a bad idea to appoint co-executors or co-trustees (or alternates) to ensure that one party will likely survive you.

5 Reasons to Choose a New Jersey Probate Lawyer to Administer Your Estate or Trust

When choosing an executor or trustee, the obvious choice for most people is a family member. But, as we all know, family can be tricky. The task of administering an estate can also be distressing and overwhelming for the family. This is why some people choose to appoint a New Jersey probate attorney to administer their estate.

  1. No better options. If there are no suitable candidates among your family or friends to manage your estate or trust, it may be wise to consider an attorney for the role. This often arises when those close to you are either untrustworthy or lack financial knowledge to responsibly handle your estate. In these circumstances, appointing an attorney as your trustee or executor may be the best bet.
  1. Relieving your family of the burden of responsibility. When a family member dies, it is an emotional and challenging time. There are many responsibilities when managing an estate. Appointing a probate lawyer to manage your estate can relieve family members from this burden during an emotional time.
  1. Experience. Having an experienced professional as executor or trustee could help to ensure that everything will be done correctly and lawfully. Probate and estate administration can sometimes be complicated and time-consuming. Further, if you utilize the attorney who drafted your estate planning documents, they will already be familiar with your family and financial matters. Your beneficiaries can feel reassured knowing that an experienced New Jersey estate lawyer is managing the estate properly.
  1. Impartiality. During times of distress, family tensions can disrupt efficient estate administration. An unbiased professional can ensure that things will be managed in the best interest of the estate and all beneficiaries.
  1. Availability. Things change over time. Family and friends may no longer wish to act as executor when the time comes. Then, the probate courts must appoint an administrator. This appointee may be someone you would not want managing your assets and estate. It may also put your beneficiaries in a position of trying to remove that administrator. By appointing a skilled probate attorney as your executor, you can avoid this trouble and know that they will be available when the time comes. 

What Happens if There Is No Will?

When there is no will, the probate courts distribute assets to beneficiaries through a process called intestate succession. The administrator plays the same role as an executor would. They manage and disburse assets to beneficiaries and pay the debts and obligations of the estate. But this court appointee may not be someone you want to manage or administer your estate. So, it’s best to have a will in place. That way, you can name the person you want to manage your assets after you are gone.

We’re Here For Your Estate Planning Needs

If you’d like to create a will or revocable living trust, or have estate planning questions, you should reach out to an experienced New Jersey estate lawyer. Contact The Chamberlain Law Firm at (201) 273-9763 for a complimentary consultation to discuss your estate planning needs and get these important questions answered.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. In the event you would like to speak with a lawyer about the specifics of your case, contact The Chamberlain Law Firm at (201) 273-9763 to schedule a consultation.

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