Trustee/Personal Representative Checklist

Estate Planning:
Contemplation. Preparation. Communication.

By Brooke H. Hunter

These three things are key to a thoughtful, thorough, and effective estate plan. An expertly drafted estate plan can only go so far as to ensuring one’s intentions are effectuated. This article highlights the importance of the estate planning process and the use of Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert’s Trustee/Personal Representative Checklist. Download the fillable checklist form here.

Contemplation. Reflection upon one’s life and legacy is only one component of thoughtful planning. Careful consideration is due when creating a plan, as well as when nominating an individual or individuals to carry out the necessary tasks of trust and estate administration. Many people opt to nominate a spouse or close relative as Trustee or Personal Representative as a means of honoring or acknowledging how special their relationship is. Serving as Trustee or Personal Representative can be an overwhelming responsibility for some, and can unduly burdensome, especially for those who are grieving. In addition to being an emotional responsibility, a Trustee or Personal Representative must handle matters of taxation, accounting, and marshaling and distributing assets. Contemplation of an individual’s capacity to handle such affairs is a crucial component to ensuring that your trust and estate will not only be efficiently administered, but that the experience is no more burdensome for the people involved than it has to be.

Preparation. Engaging in estate planning services and executing a Will, trust, power of attorney, advance healthcare directive, and deeds, may leave one feeling satisfied that they have ensured their affairs will be properly handled upon their incapacity or passing. However, preparation goes far beyond execution of documents. First, an individual should prepare an inventory of assets, investments, and accounts, so that a Trustee or Personal Representative has a compre¬hensive understanding of what is to be administered. Second, an individual should prepare their estate by establishing valuable relationships with competent professionals such as with attorneys, accountants, investment advisors and physicians. By solidifying relationships, an individual will have a network of people who have a keen understanding of an individual’s wishes and will be able to guide the Trustee or Personal Representative in the individual’s absence. Finally, an individual should verify with professionals or institutions that their assets such as life insurance and retirement benefits or accounts are either owned by their Trust, or designate the intended beneficiaries. By designating the Trust or beneficiaries, an individual is taking steps to further ensure a swift administration and distribution of assets that a Trustee or Personal Representative may not have otherwise realized existed.

Communication. An individual’s estate plan should clearly set forth their intentions as to disposition of property. An individual must communicate with a nominated Trustee or Person Representative to ensure they understand and agree to carry out the duties serving as a fiduciary entails. An individual should then introduce their Trustee or Personal Representative to their community of professional advisors, so that the Trustee or Personal Representative will not only know who to ask for assistance, but will feel comfortable doing so. By opening a dialogue among family, close friends, and Trustee or Personal Representative, an individual may achieve peace of mind that their affairs will be handled in a manner that leaves a legacy in their absence.

Download the fillable checklist form here.

For more information, please contact anyone of us at 531-8031 or email at:
Doug Smith dcs@hawaiilawyer.com
Madeleine Young mmvy@hawaiilawyer.com
Megan Lim mlml@hawaiilawyer.com
Brooke Hunter bhh@hawaiilawyer.com
Ross Uehara-Tillton rut@hawaiilawyer.com

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Attorneys at Law · A Law Corporation
1003 Bishop Street, Suite 1600 · Pauahi Tower · Honolulu · Hawaii · 96813
Telephone 808 · 531 · 8031
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