Ask the right questions about fiduciaries

One of the most difficult parts of estate planning is choosing the people you will name as your fiduciaries – that is, the people who will carry out your business.  The word fiduciary involves trust, and a fiduciary is a person who you trust to carry out the task for which you have named them.  In estate planning, you will name people to not only to handle your will, but also to handle your financial affairs in the case of your disability, to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so, to take care of your children if you die, and possibly to take care of the money and property that you leave your children while they are minors or if they are disabled.  While you do need someone you can trust in all those roles, there are other factors that are important as well.

If you are lucky enough to have enough family and friends to have to make choices, in addition to the question “who do I trust” you should also ask the following questions to help you determine the best choices for your various fiduciaries:

  • Who cares about my child?
  • Who understands and respects my wishes?
  • Who knows when to ask for help?
  • Who is happy to hear suggestions from other people?
  • Who is careful about recordkeeping?
  • Who is good with money?
  • Who would step up to help even if you didn’t ask?

These and other questions like them will help you think through the people in your life and figure out who the best matches are for the various fiduciary roles in your estate plan.  If no one fits the bill, your attorney can help you figure out how to either provide extra support for your fiduciaries, or point you to professionals who can fill the roles.

Parker Counsel Legal Services serves families in Central Texas,, the Dallas Metro area, Western Massachusetts, Northern New Jersey, and the New Hampshire Seacoast with special needs estate planning, special needs trusts, and guardianships. Contact us for a consultation at 833-RED-BOOT (833-733-2668) or legal@parkercounsel.com