Suspended in Free-Fall

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Suspended in Free-Fall

Suspended in Free-Fall

Chronicles of an Executor: Article #2
Suspended in Free-Fall

Source Apartment News Magazine
By Timothy Gorman
Real Estate Broker/CPA/Entrepreneur

Last month, I introduced the first of a new series of articles about becoming successor trustee and executor of my father’s estate. I likened this undertaking to a skydiving adventure – a daunting experience that demands preparation, resilience and adaptability.

Confident in the work already done to ensure a smooth transition, the reality has been somewhat different. As with skydiving, although you learn from the experts and practice on the ground, once you are in the plane and taking the jump, you realize you are on your own, and the experience is much more overwhelming than you anticipated.

I am now in a time of controlled descent, waiting through a required 120-day period, during which any potential beneficiaries can come forward and contest the trust.

For Type-A personalities, doing nothing leaves you feeling uncomfortable. Every day, the urge to expedite tasks and accomplish goals clashes with the realization that the circumstances demand patience and restraint.

Because there is nothing you can do, time moves even more slowly. “Hurry up and wait” takes on new meaning as I grapple with a sense of impending urgency, coupled with the knowledge that certain aspects of what may or may not happen are beyond my control.

During this long stretch of suspended free-fall, I am learning to have faith in the strength of our preparations and the efficacy of the decisions made. One of the cornerstones of our success has been assembling a team of trusted experts. The roster includes a tax attorney, CPA, estate attorney, and financial advisor. These individuals have not only provided important insights, they have also become invaluable allies in helping me to navigate the intricacies of estate administration.

While the specifics of our strategy must remain confidential, suffice it to say that the resources and planning instruments such as appropriate trusts, operating entities/structures and agreements, and other tools provided by these experts have proven indispensable. If you have not already done so, make sure that you engage with professional experts.

Remember, too, that this is not necessarily a one-and-done consultation. New laws and rulings can impact decisions made previously. So can any change in your personal life, as well as in the lives of your heirs. Periodically, you need to review the strategies and instruments as to their continued efficacy both legally and on the more personal level of serving the legacy that you have worked so hard to build for the benefit of your family and others.

As with any journey, there are always a few overlooked details. In my situation, a more meticulous approach to digital organization and using technology to manage passwords and logins would have alleviated a few hiccups.

Also, in hindsight, one key advisor was missing from our team. While focusing on business practicalities, no one thought about emotional needs and desires. The lack of a trained facilitator or counselor who could have helped to address individual and family dynamics has become apparent.

The complexities arising from differences in blended families, cultural backgrounds, generational gaps, faiths, socio-economic statuses, and even political affiliations underscore the need for an adept facilitator. It is all too easy to ignore these differences and hope for the best, but my experience dictates that this approach is much more likely to lead to turmoil. The importance of professional help to navigate unanticipated issues and disputes cannot be stressed enough.

Then, there are all of those seemingly unimportant questions left unasked. More on that topic and other key considerations will follow as I continue to share my experiences along this journey of “Navigating the Turbulent Skiles of Estate Administration.”

As has become a personal mantra, remember that even in the face of uncertainty, we can find the strength to soar.

Timothy Gorman is a licensed Real Estate Broker, Certified Public Accountant (inactive), small business owner, and avid entrepreneur. Beginning his career as a financial auditor with KPMG, he held several high-level positions in marketing and finance before joining his father at WR Gorman & Associates in 2010. 

With the passing of Bill Gorman in May 2023, Tim became the executor of his father’s estate, while continuing to oversee the family’s brokerage business and investment properties. In sharing the lessons he is learning about “Navigating the Turbulent Skies of Estate Administration,” he invites the readers of Apartment News Magazine to submit their questions and or executorship topics they would like to see covered in future articles.