Sometimes, people have difficulty choosing a “fiduciary”, or who they want to handle their assets should they become incapacitated or pass away. Types of fiduciaries include the Trustee of a Trust, or the Personal Representative (or even Conservator) of an estate.
Parents will feel guilt choosing one child over another, although they know their child of choice is the most responsible and fair. Another person may not want to cause a rift between their siblings when making the choice. In some scenarios, second marriages with children, along with children from a previous marriage, or family members with special needs complicate this decision even further.
Here are some things that are important to take into account when determining who is best suited to serve:
-First, you MUST choose someone ethical, who you trust to be fair and ensure YOUR wishes are carried out. Remember, you must trust this person with your LIFE- literally! -Second, if your choice does not have any financial expertise, then they should at least be able to enlist the help of a professional advisor when needed. -Next, you should consider longevity in making your choice. It is not prudent to name someone who may not be around long enough to administer your assets. For example, a woman in her mid-30s naming her grandmother might not be the best idea. Sometimes naming a close, trusted responsible friend might not be the best choice, if you are both are in your 70s- but your friend is older, perhaps with some health issues. Remember, this is not the beneficiary of your trust or estate- this is simply the person charged with administration so that your beneficiaries will receive what you designate.
These are just a few factors to consider when making this all-important decision. While some of our clients ultimately choose a family member, others, when considering all of the facts, choose a professional fiduciary- a trusted advisor, such as an attorney or CPA. Clients have also chosen institutions, like a bank’s trust department, to serve for them. This determination is very personal, based on a number of factors.
There is no one-size-fits-all in these situations. There is no bright line standard and because of this, many clients find themselves overwhelmed and giving the responsibility to just anyone- or choosing for emotional reasons. However, this is such an important role. This may be the person responsible for making sure your children, your special needs sister, or your mother are cared for. This may be the person that ensures you are provided for, should you become ill. Neither you, nor your designee should take this lightly!
No one can predict when they will fall very ill or pass away. Because of this, tough decisions have to be made on the front end, to ease the stress on the back end. One thing that most people commonly do when making a difficult decision, is seek wise counsel. Contact C&G to assist you in this all-important task today!
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