Financial advisor meets with a couple.

High-value estates may merit a corporate trustee's expertise

A dedicated executor or trustee can help unburden your loved ones.

You wouldn’t hand over a major responsibility to just anyone, especially something as important as serving as executor of your estate. If your estate is large or complicated, it can be an enormous amount of work to manage. Even if you’ve found someone trustworthy enough, like a family member or close friend, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re up to the challenges that come with such an important task.

To alleviate any concerns, it’s important to consider the potential complications and the burden that executing your estate may cause before deciding whether to hire a professional or rely on loved ones.

If your estate is large, complicated or contains assets that require expertise to manage properly, hiring a professional executor or trustee (if your estate has a trust) may be your best course. Involving a professional can also be helpful if you have complex family dynamics. This way, someone without intense emotional ties to your assets and their distribution can carry out your wishes without any conflicts of interest or distraction.

Choosing the right executor for your estate is about more than just trustworthiness. Availability and reliability are equally important. Your executor will need to have the time and energy to sort out the distribution of your assets and settle any of your outstanding debts, all while juggling their own day-to-day lives.

Although it’s not easy to think about, taking the time to consider these factors will help you choose the right person to manage your estate. While a loved one may seem like the obvious choice to oversee the succession of your belongings, that person would likely need to fulfill this responsibility during a difficult and emotional time.

Before hiring a professional, you should decide between a last will and testament or a trust. If you opt for a will, you’ll need an executor, and for a trust, a trustee.

Finding the right fit

No matter how your estate will be managed, it’s important to find someone who has expertise specific to your situation. That person should know the ins and outs of the property you own, as well as how to distribute it most effectively. It’s also a good idea to discuss any potential hang-ups or complications you’re aware of with this person in advance. Ideally, the person you choose as executor or trustee should be an expert in the types of assets you own.

Best of both worlds

If you know you’ll need a professional to help manage your estate but don’t want to fully relinquish control to someone outside of your family, appointing co-executors could be an ideal solution. A professional executor or corporate trustee can handle the workload and the items requiring a professional’s knowledge, while a loved one remains on board to make administrative decisions and ensure your family’s values are upheld. Appointing co-executors offers you the best of both worlds.

Here are a few actions that you can take to start the process of identifying a trustee or executor:

  • Discuss the complexity of your estate with your financial advisor.
  • Take note of the risks associated with having an untrained family member manage your estate.
  • Identify which aspects of your estate might require a professional.
  • Talk to your family about hiring a professional designee and co-appointing an executor.

Raymond James does not provide tax or legal services. Please discuss these matters with the appropriate professional.