A trusted helper is an individual (or firm) that you choose to carry out your estate plan. Even if you’re a very independent do-it-yourselfer, you will need help should you become disabled and when you die.
Specifically, every estate plan needs several trusted helpers:
- Executor of the will
- Successor trustees of the trust
- Guardians for minor children
- Health care power of attorney agents
- Financial/general durable power of attorney agents
In each role, it’s important to gain permission from those you wish to name as trusted helpers so that your plan has the best chance of working. For example, your oldest child may be the natural pick to serve as trustee, but if she has been thinking of starting a business or is going to move to another state or has difficulty managing stress, she may not be the best pick. Ask. It’s better to know now, rather than later if a trusted helper simply does not want to serve or is unable to serve.
In each situation, name back-up trusted helpers. Life is dynamic, changing constantly. Something such as an unforeseeable health problem or a failed marriage may arise in the future and your trusted helper may be unwilling or unable to serve. If you don’t have a back-up in place, the court or state law will interfere and take over, making the choice for you.
If you don’t have primary and contingent trusted helpers in place, please call our office now at 858-792-5988 for a consultation.