When creating an estate plan, it is important to consider who will be in charge of certain affairs. Different people may be appointed to different roles, and it is important to understand the duties each person will have. Estate planning early may help prevent the court from having to appoint someone to these important positions.

The person in charge of handling the overall affairs of settling a Tennessee estate is known as the personal representative. This person, also known as an executor or administrator in some cases, will manage the probate process if the deceased did not transfer all of the property into a trust or multiple trusts. If the court must appoint someone to this role, a close family member may be chosen or a financial institution could even be appointed.

If a trust is used, a trustee manages the property owned by the trust and is appointed by the person who created it, who is also known as the trustmaker or grantor. The trustee can also be a person or institution. The trustmaker may appoint him or herself as trustee and also name a successor trustee to manage the trust in the event of the original trustee’s death or incapacitation.

Appointing individuals to these and other roles is an important part of estate planning. Planning ahead allows people to choose the individuals they feel would best suit the roles. Tennessee residents who want to make sure that they have handled this part of the planning process properly may wish to consult with their legal counsel.