In the event of your passing or incapacitation, it is important to designate someone you trust to act as an important individual in your estate plan. Many decisions will lie in the hands of this person or persons, so it is crucial to have the right people on your side.
Whomever you pick as your important individuals should have a good understanding of what will be expected of them in the event of your incapacitation or passing. These individuals may be responsible for funeral arrangements, finding and securing estate assets, making major health care decisions on your behalf and more. They will need to have the ability to exercise care and skill and ultimately act in your best interests. The individuals should be able to remain impartial and transparent and reflect your values and beliefs in their decision-making.
There are multiple roles that important individuals can play, including:
- Executor: The person who administers your estate upon death;
- Power of Attorney: The person authorized to act for you in specified circumstances or all legal and financial matters prior to your death;
- Representative for Health Care: The person designated to make health care decisions for you if you become incapable of giving informed consent to one or more major health care decisions;
- Guardian: The person who is designated to care for your children and/or pets after your death; and
- Trustees: The person who holds the estate funds after your death, prior to being distributed to beneficiaries.
Different individuals may take on these roles and more than one person can have be in the same role at the same time.
Considering the gravity and nature of these roles, we have put together a list of traits you may want to look for in the people you are appointing as important individuals:
- highly organized;
- able to act thoughtfully and dependably in stressful situations;
- comfortable mediating and navigating familial disputes (if you think there may be some);
- familiar with and able to put your wishes first;
- trustworthy; and
- likely to survive you.
It is important to think about the people you are appointing as they will be the ones acting on your behalf. Estate administration can become complicated and having the right people on your side can help ease the burden.
If you have been putting off estate planning, now is a great time to get started. We are offering a discount of 30% on all estate planning services until August 31, 2020, so there is no better time to cross estate planning off your list of things to do. If you have any questions about this promotion or estate planning in general, please do not hesitate to contact us.