Due to the negative emotions that discussing estate planning might elicit, people frequently avoid doing so. Even though bringing up the subject can be difficult, it’s a crucial first step in starting your estate plan. Sharing your wishes for how you would like to be treated in the event of a critical illness or death enables you and your family to discuss the facts of mortality and the best ways to prepare for it.
When thinking about who you should notify about your estate plan, consider that your estate plan gives your loved ones direction on who will receive your assets, who has the authority to carry out healthcare or financial decisions on your behalf, and who you have appointed as fiduciaries, and other wishes particular to your estate plan. Therefore, you should communicate your wishes to those responsible or who benefit from carrying out the plan.
Your Family & Beneficiaries
When you open the lines of communication proactively, you may be saving your loved ones from confusion and frustration down the line. For example, family disputes over inheritance often arise from a lack of communication (when a family member is unpleasantly surprised). There might not be as many differences as you anticipated when you talk to your family. But, on the other hand, there could be concerns or differences that can be preemptively resolved.
Your trustee is the named fiduciary in your trust you choose to manage your assets when you cannot manage them yourself. Therefore, it is important to have a conversation with your trustee to clarify your expectations, hear their concerns, and ensure that the trustee is fully capable and willing to accept the responsibility.
Your executor is named fiduciary in your will, and they are responsible for administrating your estate that is not passing through your trust. This comprises carrying out your wishes, paying debts, and distributing assets. Like with a trustee, you want to have a conversation with your executor to make your expectations clear and ensure they understand what the role entails. Further, this can be a time to set the executor fee, if any.
Your Power of Attorney Agent
Your agent named in your Power of Attorney can be appointed to carry out several tasks if you cannot manage your own affairs. Perhaps the most widely known Power of Attorney is the Medical Power of Attorney, which gives an agent the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. You can have a conversation with your medical power of attorney to outline what your wishes are regarding healthcare decisions (which will also be documented).
Powers of Attorney are flexible in that you can appoint an agent to carry out other affairs such as business, administrative, and investment decisions. The most important aspect of communicating with these agents is their very appointment as an agent, so they are prepared to act on your behalf if the time arises. Further, you can designate any alternate agent (successors to your primary agents), which may prove valuable in the event your primary agent cannot carry out their duties.
Keep in touch with your attorney, especially if you need to update your plan at any time, as they are frequently the ones keeping your estate plan secure until your passing.
Take Control of Your Legacy
When you succeed, we succeed. Run by large firm talent while offering the agility and personal attention of a boutique firm, Beress & Zalkind LLC has a proven record of both excellence and expertise. When you’re ready to discuss your estate plan, contact us by calling (718) 513-3588 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.