Estate Planning: 5 Tips to Pick Trustees, Executors, and POAs (Part 1)

When implementing estate planning documents, one of the biggest challenges people often run into is the choice of who to name as their trustees, powers of attorney, health care surrogates, and executors. Here are some tips for deciding who to appoint:

1. Give preference to those who have the most time to devote and live nearby

You may have children who are very successful professionals, leaders, or business owners, but sometimes these are not the best choice since they often have tighter schedules and less time to devote to helping you with your affairs. Also take into account if any of your children have more children of their own to care for or other time-consuming obligations.

At least for your power of attorney and health care surrogate, you’ll also want to give preference to someone who lives closer to you as it will make things much easier if they live nearby. This may matter less for trustees and executors.

2. Do not make arbitrary designations

Another mistake people sometimes make is choosing a certain individual based on arbitrary characteristics that have nothing to do with the role they would serve. This can include appointing one child just because they are the oldest, or appointing someone based on their gender if they are the only son or daughter. There are a lot of factors to consider when appointing an agent, but arbitrary factors should not outweigh other factors that are much more important.

3. Avoid naming multiple agents, when possible

In order to make sure no child feels left out, some people want to appoint all of their children to every position that they can. However, this frequently leads to disagreement and delay when decisive action needs to be taken. Unless you are sure everything will run smoothly with multiple agents working together, it’s best to avoid naming all of your children or multiple other agents for the same role.

In the next post, I will share a few more tips for choosing trustees, executors, and POAs.

For assistance with your estate plan, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC