Estate planning and estate administration are both very important and impactful things. They are also two different and distinct things that it can be important to not confuse with one another.
Estate planning is something a person does during their lifetime. Specifically, it is the steps a person takes to prepare and plan for what will happen with their estate and affairs when they die and other big future events, like potential future incapacity. Such planning can involve many things, including setting up trusts, wills, powers of attorney, beneficiary designations and advanced directives. What a person does in regards to estate planning can impact how likely their wishes are to be followed through on when death or incapacity strikes them.
Estate administration, on the other hand, is something that is done to a person’s estate after they have passed away. Specifically, it is the post-death collection, handling/management and distribution of this estate. The main party that conducts this administration is the estate’s personal representative. What happens during the estate administration process can have major implications on a deceased person’s family and loved ones.
Now, what a person does during their life in their estate planning can have implications on estate administration matters following their death. For example, a person can specify in a will who they want to be the personal representative of their estate. Also, what kind of estate planning a person has can impact how smoothly the estate administration process is likely to go and what estate-administration-related issues could come up in relation to their estate for their relatives and loved ones.
Additionally, when it comes to both estate planning and estate administration, how issues that come up in connection to them are dealt with is impactful and having good legal guidance can be very helpful when addressing such issues. Skilled attorneys can assist individuals with forming an estate plan. They can also help families and personal representative address estate administration matters/issues that come up in connection to a deceased loved one’s estate.
Sources: FindLaw, “What is Estate Planning?,” Accessed June 13, 2016