Better Solutions For Your Family, Future And Finances.

3 important roles to address in a thorough estate plan

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning can be a very demanding process. People need to take stock of their current circumstances, including their financial situation and their relationships. Often, the primary focus is on the creation of testamentary documents so that someone’s selected beneficiaries can receive certain resources from their estate.

However, it can be as important to address the need for practical support from others as it is to address personal property in an estate plan. There are several different roles that other people can fill in an estate plan that a testator may need to consider. For example, the following three roles commonly require careful consideration during the estate planning process.

Personal representatives and trustees

It is common for one person to take responsibility for estate administration after someone’s death. The personal representative of an estate can secure someone’s property, manage probate proceedings and distribute inherited resources to beneficiaries. A trustee can help administer a trust created to protect property and ensure the appropriate distribution of assets to specific individuals. It is often of the utmost importance to select ethical and organized people to serve as trustees or representatives of estates.

Agents or attorneys-in-fact

Estate plans often include living documents that can protect someone if they experience an emergency that prevents them from asserting their rights and managing their own affairs. When someone ends up in a coma after a car crash or develops dementia as they age, the agent or attorney in fact named in their powers of attorney can manage financial and medical issues on their behalf. Selecting people who are young and healthy enough to fill that role is important, as is selecting someone that the principal can trust to uphold their wishes and act in their best interests.

Guardians for children

Those with minor children want to ensure that they have proper support if anything happens while they are still young. Estate plans for those with minor children often include guardian designations that name a specific person to assume responsibility for those children. Guardians fill a parental role and often have to accept years of responsibility. The obligations of guardianship mean that factors ranging from where they live to their relationship with the children may influence whether or not an individual is the right choice for this key position.

Creating a short list of candidates and discussing roles involving responsibility with an attorney can help testators empower the right people in their estate planning documents.