When talking about your estate plan, you may hear the word “fiduciary” come up. A fiduciary is a person who has a legal relationship with you. This relationship entails that he or she agrees to provide you with advice or service and can make informed decisions on your financial matters. Fiduciary is a broad term for a few different people who have fiduciary duty when it comes to an estate plan. This is what you need to know about fiduciaries when working on your plan.
Attorneys can be considered to have fiduciary duties when it comes to estate plans. Your attorney is the one who has the training and education to provide you with advice and service. You have to establish trust with your lawyer and need to believe that he or she has your best interests in mind and won’t lead you astray.
If you have a will, the executor will be a fiduciary. The executor of a will is the person who handles your wishes after your death. This individual will probate your will, collect and distribute assets, and pay off any debts or expenses. He or she will also file your tax returns. It is important that you trust your executor to handle all of your personal matters. This is a person that should not only be responsible enough to handle your will and the processes around it but someone that you can trust with your estate.
Trustees, like executors, are in charge of your assets when you die. This person manages all of the assets within a trust. He or she will decide how to invest your assets, how to distribute the funds, and will provide reports to the beneficiaries. Like the executor, this has to be someone that you can trust completely. He or she is responsible for honoring your wishes with your assets and making smart financial decisions about your trust.
Agents Under Durable Power of Attorney
These agents can make decisions for you on your behalf. This person may make financial or medical decisions for you. Often, this is important to have if you are ever incapacitated and cannot make those decisions for yourself.
When it comes to estate planning, it can help to work with an estate planning attorney, like an estate planning attorney in Mesa, AZ. You will most likely hear unfamiliar words or need to assign certain roles to the people in your life. To ensure that your estate plan is valid and carries out your wishes, you should consult with an estate planning lawyer as soon as possible.
Thanks to Citadel Law Firm for their insight into what is considered a fiduciary in estate planning.