Most people understand the importance of estate planning. Having a will, powers of attorney and living wills are important to make sure your wishes are carried out in the event you cannot voice them and to ensure your final wishes are materialized after your passing. But even though you’ve got an estate plan that details everything, have you told those you need to carry things out that they are the “chosen ones?”
Being the executor of an estate is a large responsibility, often one that is taken on by someone who is grieving. It is a good idea to approach the person you have chosen to be the executor and ask if he or she is willing to do it. In most cases, the answer will be yes, since it is an honor to be chosen to carry out a person’s last wishes, but it is only considerate that you allow your chosen person to voluntarily take on the role.
Once the person has agreed to be the executor, this person needs to know where all the documents are stored. Are they in the safe in the den or in a safety deposit box at a local bank? Does the bank know who your executor is so they will know to release the contents of the box to the individual? This is another issue you will need to take care of for your estate planning to truly be complete.
It is also a good idea to have separate individuals retain your different powers of attorney. For example, one person could have legal power of attorney and another person medical power of attorney. Overburdening one person with that many decisions could lead to mistakes in your estate administration. It might also be worth considering leaving the close friends and family out of it and hiring an objective third party to carry out your final wishes.
Planning your estate is always a wise move, but it should not be done in a vacuum. Make sure the people you are trusting to act on your behalf know this is their future role and it is one they are willing to take on. If you need assistance with estate planning, contacting a legal professional experienced in estate planning to get your questions answered.
Source: KSTP.com, “Preparing for the Worst: Wills, Trusts, Estates and More” Leslie Dyste, Nov. 12, 2013
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