As executor, your first step in settling the decedent's estate is to find all of the decedent's assets. You must then figure out which assets belonged solely to the decedent so that you can protect them until they can be distributed either according to the decedent's will or state intestacy laws. Finding such assets can be a challenge.
When a person dies intestate (without making and leaving a will), each state provides a default plan (usually known as the statute of descent and distribution) under which his or her net estate is disposed. When a person dies intestate, there is no adding to the default plan. The default plan is the only plan. This article discusses the disadvantages of descent and distribution related to the inability to add to the default plan.
There are two kinds of durable powers of attorney for finances: those that take effect immediately and those that take effect only upon your incapacitation where one or two doctors declare that you can no longer manage your financial affairs.
As a general rule, a will can be changed or cancelled at any time before the testator's death. A will may be revoked (i.e., recalled or cancelled). This article discusses methods for revoking a will.
The special purpose served with a voting trust is to transfer the right to vote shares of stock without losing control of the stock itself or any other rights associated with it, such as appreciation, dividends, or other distributions. The voting trust is most often used with closely held companies where it is deemed advisable to allow one or more specific individuals to vote the stock. It is the trustee of the voting trust who is entitled to vote the stock held in the trust, and thus the individuals who are to have the vote will be appointed as the trustees of the voting trust.