Who’s Who in Your Estate Plan
When creating your estate plan you will need to fill four to five key WHOs with people that you trust and that you believe will be able to do what is required of them. I am breaking down the roles by document. The Bloom Estate Planning Binder includes a General Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney and a Will. In each document there are roles that you will name a PRIMARY person and a SECONDARY person just in case the primary is unable or unwilling to perform that role.
GENERAL DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY – the person that you appoint as General Durable Power of Attorney will take care of the financial and legal aspects of your estate if you are unable to because of incapacity or circumstance. The named person can pay your bills, sell real estate, manage various financial affairs and sign legal documents for you. Most commonly a spouse or partner is appointed as the Primary and an adult child, trusted friend, financial adviser or sibling is named as the Secondary.
MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY – the person you appoint to be your Medical Power of Attorney will make medical decisions for you because you are unable to make or communicate them for yourself. If you are in an accident or trauma, this person will be your advocate to the doctor and hospital. Again, most commonly, a spouse or partner is named as the Primary and an adult child, trusted friend, sibling or trusted medical professional is named as the Secondary.
WILL – In a will, there are one to three roles to fill depending on if you elect to set up a trust. The first role is that of EXECUTOR. An Executor is the person who manages your estate after you have died. They are responsible for gathering all your assets – completing all required paperwork for the county – paying off all debts – and distributing the proceeds of your estate to the beneficiaries. Typically, a spouse or partner is named as Primary. A Secondary can be an adult child, a trusted friend, a financial institution, a sibling.
The second role is that of TRUSTEE. If you have children under the age of 18 or another beneficiary is under 18 or disabled, you will likely include a trust in your will. The Trustee is responsible for managing whatever assets you have put in the Trust. They will create a trust account and be responsible for distributing to the beneficiaries and managing the funds and assets until the trust expires. Usually a trust only comes into play if both parents die – so you can’t appoint your spouse or partner as Primary on this one. It is usually a trusted friend, sibling or financial adviser.
The third role is that of GUARDIAN. If you have children under the age of 18 – you can direct who you would like to take care of them in the event that you and the other parent are both deceased. This role should be filled by someone that you trust, is willing to take on your children in the event that you die, and that you believe will raise your children in a way that you would be comfortable with. Usually a family member is selected – a sibling or parent.
You may choose to use the same 2-3 people for every role or you may have a different person for each. However you decide to fill in your WHOs, make sure that you communicate your choice to the person and give them .
If you want to discuss the WHOs in your estate plan, set up a consultation today!
Estate Planning Services
Single Person – $400.00
Add Spouse or Partner – $100.00
General Durable Power of Attorney & Medical Power of Attorney
*Prices may vary depending on the complexity of the preparation.