You’re right to ask the question, “Who will help me carry out my estate plan?” Your estate plan is not magic, it’s really just a set of instructions. Trusted helpers are needed to carry out your instructions. You name trusted helpers in your estate planning documents.
- Rule number one: Be sure to get your loved ones’ permission before naming them in your estate plan.
- Rule number two: Be sure to name back-ups for each trusted helper position, in case your primary helper cannot or will not serve when needed.
In your will you name an executor, guardian for minor children, and guardian for the assets of minor children.
In your trust, you name trustees to serve initially, and to serve should you become disabled and when you die. You may also name trustees to serve over your children’s trusts, spouse’s trust, a special needs beneficiary’s trust, an addicted beneficiary’s trust, and so on.
Your Health Care Power of Attorney (i.e. Medical Power of Attorney)
You name a health care agent in your health care power of attorney or health care proxy.
Your Financial Power of Attorney (i.e. General Durable Power of Attorney)
You name a financial agent in your financial power of attorney.
Your Estate Planning Attorney
Your estate planning attorney will guide you through the design and execution of your estate plan. He or she will also walk you through updates, every three to five years or upon the occurrence of a significant life event such as marriage, divorce, new child, move to a new state, or new business. Your estate planning attorney will also guide your trusted helpers if you become incapacitated and after you die.
If you need help choosing who to name as your trusted helpers to carry out your estate plan, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.