Make 2015 totally awesome. Take the Dummies challenge and you could win $1,000! Learn how.

Estate Planning

Sorted by:  

How to Distribute the Residue of a Decedent’s Estate

As the estate executor, you must distribute the estate’s residue, or the leftover assets, after you have paid all debts, administration expenses, and bequests and devises from the decedent’s estate. [more…]

Documents Needed to Transfer Assets into a Trust

When the grantor of a trust is alive, the trustee’s first step is to transfer assets into the trust. As trustee, before you begin to transfer these assets into the trust, you must have key documents handy [more…]

How to Transfer Cash and Securities into a Trust

Two assets that trustees commonly use to fund a living grantor’s trust are cash and securities. The ownership records of securities held in street name are maintained by the bond- or stock-issuing financial [more…]

Funding Trusts with Stocks, Promissory Notes, and Limited Partnership Interests

Many grantors set up trusts with the intent to fund them with non-publicly traded securities, such as privately held stocks, promissory notes, and limited partnership interests. [more…]

Who Administers Estates When Someone Dies or Needs Representation?

Estate administration includes several kinds of fiduciaries, people who administer the assets or property of another person. The type of fiduciary often depends upon the deceased's will and heirs. If an [more…]

How Are Family Trustees and Independent Trustees Similar and Different?

Every trust must have a fiduciary, in this case, a trustee, to administer the trust assets. The two major types of trustees are independent trustees and family trustees. In general, both independent trustees [more…]

What's a Probate Estate All About?

A probate estate is all the assets a person owns at his or her death that are subject to probate administration. Probate administration is the process of proving to a probate court that the will is genuine [more…]

Who Can Inherit from an Estate?


Determining who inherits the assets of a decedent’s estate is usually simple if the estate has a valid will, because the will sets out who the assets go to. However, wills can be fuzzy if they're not [more…]

Does the Estate Need a Temporary Executor?

You may need to apply for temporary executorshipif the estate plan documents show that the decedent’s estate has assets subject to probate that need immediate action. Temporary executorship can be achieved [more…]

How to Organize the Estate Administration Process

Estate administration is a detailed process with a lot of paperwork and rigid deadlines. The executor of an estate should keep organized and thorough estate records from the decedent’s death onward. Creating [more…]

How to Read a Trust Instrument and Create a Trust Plan

After you’ve been named as trustee of a trust, you will need to understand the trustee’s duties and powers as soon as possible in order to create a plan for administering the trust. The conditions of the [more…]

What Are a Trustee’s Fiduciary Duties?

As a trustee, you have a fiduciary duty to the trust. You must always act in accordance with the terms of the trust instrument. Your attorney can advise you as to the law regarding your duties and limitations [more…]

What Are a Trust's Principal and Income?

A trust has two components, the principal and the income. The principal is all the property that’s available to produce ordinary income like dividends, interest, or rents. As you make payments, some may [more…]

How to Use Investment Advisors Wisely for a Trust

Investment advisors can make your life as trustee easier. They spend all their professional time researching companies and reading balance sheets and annual reports. Their job is to be on top of whatever [more…]

How to Notify Trust Beneficiaries

If the creator of a trust fails to notify the beneficiaries of the existence of this trust during his or her lifetime, then the administrator of his or her estate must notify them. Establish a reliable [more…]

How to Obtain Probate Court Approval of an Estate’s Accounts

Before you can close a decedent’s estate, you need to have your accounts allowed (approved) by the probate court. Check with your local probate court for the exact procedure for allowance of accounts. [more…]

How to File an Estate’s Probate Inventory

The probate court will require the executor of an estate to file an inventory of all the decedent’s assets. Preparing this probate inventory should be the executor’s next step after finding the assets [more…]

How to Pay an Estate’s Final Administration Expenses

As you move toward the end of the estate administration process, you will need to pay the estate’s final administration expenses. This includes paying all remaining attorney and accountant fees. [more…]

How to Prepare Accounts for Allowance by a Probate Court

When preparing accounts for allowance, you will need to choose the accounting form used in your local probate court. Some states require principal and income accounting, and others require receipts and [more…]

How to Formalize Your Selection of an Estate Attorney

After you have researched attorney credentials, interviewed estate lawyers, and discussed pricing, you will be ready to make a final decision on an attorney to assist with the administration of your estate [more…]

How to Obtain Beneficiary Assent when Preparing Accounts for Allowance

In the process of closing the decedent’s estate, while preparing accounts for allowance by the probate court, you will need to obtain the assent (a form of written agreement to the account) of each interested [more…]

How to Submit a Trust’s Final Income Tax Returns

You can’t walk away from your duties as trustee until and unless you’ve filed a final Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts. Before terminating the trust, you will need to ensure that [more…]

How to Liquidate an Estate’s Securities and Real Estate

Liquidating — distributing or selling — estate assets is one of the primary responsibilities of an estate administrator. Liquidation can help to pay the estate’s debts and expenses and make distributing [more…]

What Are Key Bond Terms for a Trust?

Investing in bonds can be one of the safest and easiest ways to invest, yet many people shy away from these investments because they may not understand all the words used in their descriptions. This article [more…]

How to Diversify Mutual Funds for a Trust

In a mutual fund, a group of like-minded investors pool their money, hire an advisor, and allow the advisor to invest the pooled cash in a way that’s been determined by the investors. In exchange for the [more…]


Sign Up for RSS Feeds

Personal Finance
Rock your resolutions. Take the Dummies challenge and you could WIN $1,000! Get Started.