Five Tips for Picking Your Estate Plan Agent and Fiduciaries

Fiduciaries for an estate plan can include agents, trustees, or executors, which is why selecting fiduciaries is essential for any estate plan to be successful. Around 67% of Americans do not have an estate plan. If you want to make an estate plan that covers all of your assets, you should select agents and fiduciaries you know you can trust.

Do Not Favor Individuals Who Live Close to You

When you’re attempting to select the right fiduciary, it may be more convenient to choose someone who lives nearby, but the best person is the one you can trust. In today’s world with access to digital mans of communication, distance has become less of a factor in choosing fiduciaries.
You might also want to avoid choosing people who have more obligations in their everyday lives. The tasks that are required to be performed to serve as a fiduciary, particularly as an agent under a power of attorney, can be extremely time-consuming, so it is important to make a selection that will meet your goals.

Try to Avoid Using Multiple Agents

Since many different people can be named as agents and fiduciaries, it’s common for an individual making an estate plan to name their children. However, issues can arise when the agents are unable to agree on a course of action. As an example, let’s say that someone wants to change their estate plan documents and has named two of his or her children as trustees and co-agents.

It’s possible that the co-agents would disagree with one another, which could lead to delays when timely action is required. Also, there are some banking institutions that will not accept a power of attorney that names more than on agent at a time. Avoiding multiple agents is recommended to ensure that any decisions regarding the estate plan are made without untimely delays.

Don’t Name an Agent Based on Random Characteristics

There are times when people will select an agent and fiduciary based on completely random and arbitrary characteristics that don’t mean anything in regard to how reliable an agent can be.

For instance, the person creating the estate plan could name their oldest child as their agent for the estate. While this decision may have been made when taking every important factor into account, some people will choose their oldest child to be fiduciary based solely on their age. The agent’s age is no longer relevant if they aren’t suitable to be a fiduciary for the estate.

Make Sure the Individual Is Eligible

In New Jersey, practically anyone can serve as an agent or fiduciary when it comes to administering an estate plan. In many cases, friends or family members are chosen to be the trustee. It’s also common for a younger individual to be selected to ensure that the trustee outlives the total term of the trust.

The agent who is selected should have a certain level of knowledge about how to manage investments or how to hire a financial advisor who can provide these services.

Consider Hiring a Professional Fiduciary or Agent

Along with friends or family members, it’s possible to choose an institution or professional to serve, which has its advantages. In the event that a beneficiary is set to receive assets from an estate at different intervals as opposed to all at once, a professional may be able to more effectively carry out the estate plan without making mistakes.

If discretionary distributions to a beneficiary are left up to a family member, this situation could lead to a more contentious relationship between the two people in question. A professional might also be the preferred option when dealing with generational trusts or a considerable amount of wealth. Handling a larger estate tends to come with more problems and complexities, which professionals are more equipped to deal with. If you require assistance with your estate plan, contact our New Jersey estate planning lawyer today to make sure you have the representation you deserve.

The easiest way to ensure that an estate plan is carried out as intended is by selecting agents who you’re confident will properly manage every facet of the estate. Call our New Jersey estate planning lawyer today at (201) 996-1200 to schedule your first appointment.