Mom and Dad have both died. Because you were the eldest child, you were appointed executor or administrator of their estate. There are only two problems with this: 1) you don’t have a clue about what to do, and 2) you live in Ohio and the family home is in California. Oh, and you work full time, have children in school, have precious little vacation time remaining, and the budget for numerous trips to California is pretty lean. Prepare yourself for a stressful, rocky road. And don’t expect any gratitude or sympathy from your siblings as you wrap up every detail of your parents’ lives: your siblings will be scrutinizing every move you make, concerned that you are skimming money off the top and getting the best of everything. And once you have completed this huge task, the estate will be divided evenly between the four siblings. You will get nothing extra for your efforts and putting your life on hold other than glares from your sister at the next family reunion–if you are still on speaking terms and can stand to see each other again. Or you can hire a private professional fiduciary to administer the estate. The fiduciary will live locally, has professional resources to help him navigate all the details, has no bias towards any of the family members, does not want the blue ceramic clock, and is not and cannot be a beneficiary. His fees will be paid from the estate, which means that the burden and cost of wrapping up all those details is borne equally by all the beneficiaries, instead of by you, the lone executor. Hiring a professional fiduciary to administer the estate can save your family relationships, in addition to saving you time, stress, money, and headaches. And, when it is all over, you don’t have to invite the fiduciary to your family reunion.