When working with a wills and trusts administration lawyer here in Orange County, there are certain things you likely already have in mind.  For example, you may want to set up trusts to avoid tax pitfalls or to create a will which clearly outlines what is to happen to your property upon your death.  Many people completely overlook the fact that the estate itself will have operating costs associated with it, and these need to be planned for, as well.

One example is that of your home.  Perhaps you plan to have the house sold so your heirs can split the proceeds.  This can be a great idea, but who pays for taxes, basic utilities, etc. while the house is on the market?  Another consideration is one in which  your life insurance policy may not pay out immediately.  How does a surviving spouse pay his or her living expenses during this time?  Wills and trusts administration doesn’t generally happen overnight, so it’s important to have some sort of plan in place for the interim period.

When planning your estate in Orange County, here are a few key expenses to keep in mind:

  • Expenses for surviving children
  • Ongoing debts
  • Lawyer’s fees
  • Court costs and probate fees
  • Income tax on money earned while the estate is being settled

Working with an Orange County wills and trusts administration lawyer will help you better prepare for how these and other costs will be covered when the time comes.  Many estates are made up mostly of assets which don’t include a lot of cash.  So, it may be necessary for certain assets to be sold off in order to cover other costs.  Rushing to sell assets in this way (or to secure a loan against them) can cause a number of problems for your heirs.  They will likely not get full value for items and will create more debt for themselves and/or the estate.

There are some ways to prepare for this and protect your loved ones.  Your wills and trusts administration lawyer will have some good suggestions to offer, some of which might include:

  • Sell assets now or in the near future when their value is high
  • Open a separate life insurance policy which is intended to cover administrative costs
  • Determine how costs will come out of your family’s inheritance

Keep in mind, it is common to provide compensation to the executor of your will.  You may have other expenses to consider, such as providing money to someone to care for your pets after you have passed away.  Again, a wills and trusts administration lawyer in Orange County can help you identify what kinds of costs are likely to come up and he or she will offer advice on how best to prepare for them.