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What Fiduciary Roles Do I Need To Be Prepared To Discuss With My Estate Planning Lawyer?

Consulting lawyer
  1. Executor – this is the person who handles your probate estate if you have one.  It should be someone you trust implicitly to manage your assets for your heirs during the probate process.
  2. Trustee – this is the person who handles the assets held as part of your revocable living trust if you have one.  In addition, even if you decide to dispose of assets at death by Will through a probate, once the probate ends your Will typically calls for the creation of trusts for heirs.  You will therefore need to consider who acts as Trustee in that context. 

    You should choose someone you trust implicitly, someone who won’t rub your heirs the wrong way, someone with business acumen so that assets can be properly managed, and someone who knows the needs of your heirs so that appropriate distributions can be made.  When children attain an appropriate age, they can act as Trustee.

    Oftentimes people select Co-Trustees – having more than one person exercise these powers.  For example, there could be a “Distributions Trustee” who knows what family members might need from the trust, and an “Investment Trustee” who has the business acumen to invest trust assets.  Co-Trustees who are required to act unanimously might also be helpful where you trust each person separately, but together you can be certain that all of them won’t join up to do wrong by your heirs.


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