Choosing the right people in an estate plan

One difficult aspect of estate planning for some Georgia residents may be choosing who should fulfill various roles. Positions such as executor, trustee and guardian all require different skill sets, and in some cases, a person might have chosen loved ones or family members who might not be suitable for the role. An attorney might be able to help a client make the right choices.

For example, if people have a history of bankruptcy or overspending, they might not be the best candidate for managing money. Someone who is well-organized and carefully tracks their own finances might be a better choice. The person chosen to be a guardian for children or to make health care decisions should be good at dealing with people. This might be someone who already has a caregiving background.

The most critical aspect of selecting people for these responsibilities is making sure that they understand and agree to these responsibilities in advance. Executors, trustees, guardians and health care advocates should not find out when a person becomes incapacitated or passes away that they have been chosen for this position.

A person who has not yet begun to create an estate plan might feel overwhelmed by the process. The first step might be visiting an attorney to simply discuss the client's situation and needs. People might be unaware of the options available. For example, those who have a relative with special needs might not know they can set up a trust that will help that relative financially without affecting their disability benefits. Some people may not have considered the need for documents such as a living will. People who made an estate plan years ago and who have not updated it since might also want to visit an attorney to review the documents.

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