The estate administration process involving the late Mary Kennedy's estate has taken a step forward, as the son of Mary and Robert Kennedy Jr. has been appointed as the administrator of the estate. Conor Kennedy, the couple's eldest son, turned 18 in late July and on the same day requested the court to name him as the administrator of his mother's $2.1 million estate.
Mary Kennedy, who died without a will several months ago, did not have a named administrator. Robert did not object to the naming of Conor. Mary Kennedy's divorce lawyers had at one time opposed the young man's appointment as administrator, but they later withdrew their request that the court name a public administrator to oversee the estate instead.
Conor Kennedy will now have the duty to disburse the property of his deceased mother, settle any estate debts and conduct other responsibilities according to state law. While he will be assisted by an attorney and family friend, this is a task that can be somewhat laborious and stressful. In addition, going through the estate administration process can also place a strain on the estate itself. Probate proceedings can be expensive, and the longer they go on, the less goes to intended beneficiaries.
Of course, there are steps people can take to avoid probate. Through the use of a proper estate plan with a directive to a named administrator, people can dodge some of the delays and difficulties that can arise in probate. Preparing an estate plan is generally easier than most people think, especially with the help of an experienced estates and trusts attorney.
Source: Lohud.com, "Mary Kennedy's son, Conor, named administrator of her estate; sister: 'a lot of questions' still about death; RFK Jr. to pay Mary's lawyers," Lee Higgins and Jonathan Bandler, July 25, 2012.
• Placing one's assets in trusts is one way to avoid probate. If you would like more information on my firm, please visit my Sacramento estate planning page.