Christine R. Settle | Posted on May 01, 2017
It seems these days that we spend a vast amount of time and effort planning and juggling our time and endless list of to-do items. From planning our workday and doctor's appointments to scheduling carpool and children's activities, we are busier than ever before.
As a result, when was the last time you took the time to focus on planning what will happen if you need help managing your finances or paying your bills? Or, what if you are no longer living? Further, have you considered who is going to manage your affairs as power of attorney (POA) during your lifetime if you are unable to do so, manage a trust, or serve as executor in the event of your death? The answer to these questions is critical to the success of your financial estate plan.
When we think of someone to name as a financial POA, trustee, or executor, it may be your first instinct to name a family member or friend. While it is admirable to have this level of confidence in those closest to you, the stress of managing financial matters or estate settlement can be a burden to friends and loved ones who are already dealing with their own finances and potentially the grief of your passing.
Consider the following questions as you determine the most appropriate POA, Trustee or Executor:
- Does the individual live nearby or would extensive travel become an issue?
- Will the individual have the time and energy to dedicate to your finances and/or estate settlement?
- Is the individual prepared to handle matters such as possible litigation or frustrated relatives or beneficiaries?
- Does the individual fully understand the duties, responsibilities, and/or tax consequences associated with serving as a financial POA, trustee or executor of your estate?
It is important to recognize the tasks associated with financial POA duties, trust administration, and estate settlement are extensive and demanding. Therefore, use of a corporate fiduciary, such as your bank's trust department, might be a more sensible alternative for management of your finances and the settlement of your estate.
Benefits of utilizing a corporate fiduciary include:
- Extensive knowledge, experience and objectivity to manage your financial matters and carry out your wishes, while adhering to the legal and tax obligations related to the management of your unique situation.
- Fairness and impartiality at all times - even when pressured by family members and/or beneficiaries for special treatment.
- Tangible relief of family hostility by serving as an intermediary.
The ongoing professional management of your estate and assets is more than deciding how to divide your property. Your selection of an experienced financial POA, trustee and executor determines who will manage your finances during your lifetime and after you are gone. A wise and thoughtful decision now will enable you, and ultimately your beneficiaries, to feel secure in the management and protection of your financial assets for your lifetime and beyond.