While putting together an estate plan is important for you and your loved ones, it is equally important for you to understand the role of the trusted individuals who will be carrying out your wishes when you are unable to. When it comes to estate planning, these helpers are key. They generally include a trustee, guardian, executor, agent under a power of attorney, and healthcare proxy, among others.
Determining who will handle your affairs when you are unable or once you are gone is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Here is an easy three-step guide to help you that you can use when reviewing your estate plan.
First, consider whether or not you need the helper. For example, if you are revising a pre-existing estate plan created when children were minors, and now they are adults – i.e., over 18 or 21 years of age – then you may no longer need a guardian. Alternatively, if you have a new pet that you did not have when you originally put your plan together, you may want to consider designating a pet caretaker.
Second, ask yourself whether, if you were creating your plan now, you would pick this person? Is this person right for the job, and if they are, why do you feel he or she is the best choice? Think about the tasks and duties this person would be asked to help with–does this person have the right skill set, demeanor, or personality to carry out the obligations the way you would want them to?
Third, and finally, contact your estate planning attorney about making and implementing any necessary updates. In addition to revising your helpers, there may be other issues you want to discuss regarding your plan. Reviewing your estate planning helpers is a great way to start the process.
If you are considering reviewing your estate plan helpers, or need helping crafting your initial estate plan, feel free to give us a call.