Whether you are the trustee of a trust established by someone else or you are the executor of that person’s estate, you have been given a great responsibility. You must ensure that person’s wishes are honored, that you meet the legal requirements of your duty, and that you fulfill your fiduciary duty to any beneficiaries.
It Is Normal to Feel Overwhelmed
While the responsibility is great, you don’t have to make all of the decisions alone. Instead, you have the right to hire an estate planning lawyer to help you implement the estate plan. An attorney can make sure you are taking all of the necessary steps to implement the estate according to the terms of the estate documents and California law.
Before you decide to hire a lawyer, however, it is important that you hire the right one. You may want to consider the lawyer’s:
- Experience with estate plans. An attorney who has experience creating estate plans may have additional insights that are important when it comes time to implement the `plan.
- Experience advising trustees and executors. Implementing a trust or estate plan and resolving disputes about such estate planning tools is different than creating an estate plan. It is an important to discuss the lawyer’s experience in this area.
- Communication skills. You need to know if your attorney will take time to educate you about the estate planning and implementation processes, so you can be confident you are making informed decisions. You do not want to blindly follow someone else’s advice—not even an attorney’s. Instead, you want to make sure that you understand the law in order to make the right decisions.
Additionally, it is important to consider how comfortable you are with the lawyer you may hire. You want to be able to ask questions and be confident that you will get a fast and accurate response.
If you know someone who has been named as a trustee or an executor, please share this article with that person, so he or she can make an informed decision about how to choose a competent lawyer to help implement the estate plan.