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Choosing the right people for roles in an estate plan

Some Florida residents who are creating an estate plan may make mistakes in terms of who they appoint to fulfill various roles. A plan may have an executor, agents to deal with financial and health care issues, and a trustee if there is a trust. There might also be various people chosen to manage Social Security benefits, long-term care insurance and the funeral.

There are a number of potential pitfalls with these choices. One is there may be several overlapping responsibilities. Another problem is that sometimes people are not informed that they have been chosen for these roles, and some of them might be unqualified. This lack of qualification could be because a person lacks the financial or legal acumen to carry out the duties, or it could be because the person is unlikely to be able to manage any conflict that may arise, including a conflict of interest.

People should review their estate planning documents to see who they have appointed for various roles, and they should consider what qualities are needed. For example, a person who has been entrusted with making health care decisions might need to evaluate medical information. For trustees and executors, a professional may be the best choice. A professional might also share a role with a loved one.

People may want to discuss the estate plan and their goals for it with an attorney. In addition to making sure the right people are involved in it, it is also important to make sure the intended beneficiaries benefit. For example, one error people often make is failing to create a new beneficiary designation after a divorce for assets such as a retirement account or a life insurance policy.

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