Choosing agents requires careful consideration.
Very considered consideration.
Successful estate planning, including incapacity planning, does not rely on the validity of the signed documents alone.
Although the preparation and execution of the documents is essential, the content is equally important.
The right fiduciaries and agents must be clearly appointed.
According to a recent Nasdaq article titled “Estate Planning: 5 Tips to Pick Trustees, Executors and POAs,” careful thought must be given to choosing the appropriate individuals to fulfill these roles.
Selecting the right people to manage your affairs can be daunting.
How can you be confident in the individuals you choose?
Take time to consider who will have time to perform the duties.
Do your adult children have demanding professions?
Are they leading organizations or running businesses?
If yes, your children may not have the time or flexibility in their schedules to settle your estate as the executor.
Do not simply select someone for frivolous reasons.
You may want to choose your eldest child as the executor or power of attorney agent, but birth order does not necessarily mean he is best suited to the role.
If your eldest child is not fiscally responsible, then you should select someone else.
The responsibilities of the estate require someone who can fulfill the duties well.
Your non-appointed children may be offended at first, but they may thank you later if they are not up to the tasks.
The process need not be complicated.
One way families tend to make the role of agents more complex is through selecting all children as executors or power of attorney agents.
Arguments about what to do can slow down the processes.
Choices may be made by popular opinion rather than what is best.
If some of your children need to be right, the desire to win may tear your family apart.
All that noted, I have seen estate plans in which multiple children are successfully appointed to act alone and/or together.
Like clothing, one size rarely does fit all.
And, when selecting an agent or an executor, no choice is perfect at all times.
Your parents may die before you.
Your current friend may not be close to you in the future, relationally or geographically.
Pick the best agents for your current circumstances.
You should review your estate plan periodically and update as needed.
If no one in your life is suitable for the roles, you can consider naming a professional trustee, executor, or power of attorney.
This can be helpful with larger estates and in instances where ownership is complicated.
Discuss your wishes and concerns candidly with your estate planning attorney when selecting fiduciaries and agents for your estate plan.
Reference: nasdaq (Sep. 4, 2022) “Estate Planning: 5 Tips to Pick Trustees, Executors and POAs”