Once you have decided to address your estate planning needs, you may have to make some difficult decisions about who will be in charge of managing your estate, and who you will entrust to make decisions about your life and help you manage assets for your beneficiaries. Here are four key roles you will need to fill.
- Executor/Executrix. If you have a Will to state your final wishes, then you must choose an executor or executrix. This person will be responsible for taking care of the estate administration. This may include wading through probate, paying final debts, liquidating property, and ultimately distributing the assets in accordance with your wishes.
- Trustee. When using a trust to arrange for future liquidation or management of your business interests, you must select a trustee. You may decide to choose an individual who has no conflicts of interest, and someone with legal or financial acumen who you trust to carry out your wishes. You may also choose a professional entity such as a bank.
- Health care (personal) representative. This is the person you will designate to access your medical records, speak to doctors on your behalf, and make important decisions about how or whether to extend life support measures if necessary.
- Power of Attorney. You also may want to select someone as a power of attorney, either for a general power to act or for specific financial matters. Most people select their spouse, and then name as a successor a child, close (younger) relative, or a close friend, to have this power.
The key is to remember that one of the main goals of estate planning is to minimize post-death strife and tension, so the best practice is to consider all of these key roles in advance of the need to do so.
For assistance with any legal matters related to your business or estate planning, contact Fournier Legal Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.670.3535.
Joseph E. Fournier is an Attorney and a CPA who has more than twenty years of experience in a variety of business legal matters, including start-ups and company formations, drafting shareholder and operating agreements, contracts, employment law, commercial litigation, tax planning and audit defense, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). He also handles estate planning matters, such as business succession planning, wills, trusts, and probate.