Don’t Let it Be Fantasy Team -Assemble Your Estate Planning Team

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Who’s on the Roster of Your Fantasy Estate Planning Team?


Go Team! Not just your favorite sports team, your estate planning team. In the long run, they might be the most important team you have. Estate planning is a team effort, and you want an impressive lineup of individuals and professionals for your team. Your team roster will determine the integrity of your plan for years to come. An all-star lineup for your estate plan team will work together to design and implement your legacy goals.

Who is on the Team?

To craft your ideal estate plan, you should consider drafting the following individuals:

  • Estate Planning Attorney: Your estate planning attorney is in charge of arranging the client’s legal affairs to ensure that trusted people are authorized to make decisions for the client when the client cannot. They will oversee that the client’s assets are managed and distributed in the manner the client wants after the client’s death.
  • Financial Advisor- Your financial advisor plays an important role in estate planning by understanding the client’s specific financial goals and investment objectives. The financial advisor can also ensure that there are ample resources available at death to pass on to loved ones.
  • Insurance Professional-An insurance professional provides an analysis of the client’s current and future insurance needs. In many estate planning strategies, life insurance is critical to providing adequate liquidity to take care of all of the beneficiaries.
  • Accountant or CPA-Having an accountant or CPA on your team brings valuable tax strategies to the planning process. Although much of the focus in estate planning has historically been on transfer taxes, a comprehensive tax plan must consider the impact of all taxes a client and the client’s beneficiaries may owe.
  • Personal Representative/Trustee -Upon your death, a personal representative is the person or company appointed under an individual’s will to administer their probate estate. The personal representative will collect the assets in the deceased’s name, pay taxes, debts, and expenses, deal with any creditor claims, and distribute assets to beneficiaries. A Trustee can be appointed to administer and control any trusts established in a will or your revocable trust upon an individual’s death – such as trusts that benefit your children, descendants, or other beneficiaries.
  • Alternate Trustee – Naming an alternate trustee helps if the person you named trustee is no longer able to continue (usually due to death or incapacity) or chooses not to serve as trustee.
  • Guardians of Minor Children-Guardians are required for any minor children (under age 18). Minors cannot legally own property, nor can they care for themselves.
  • Agent under a Financial Power of Attorney-In a Durable Power of Attorney, an individual may designate an agent and authorize that person to handle various legal and financial matters on their behalf. Durable Powers of Attorney are effective immediately, so they can also be useful upon your incapacity to avoid potential and costly guardianship proceedings.
  • Agent under a Medical Power of Attorney – A health care surrogate can make health care decisions for an individual should they become unable to make decisions themselves.
  • Beneficiaries-These are your teammates, persons or entities (such as a charity) that receive a beneficial interest in an asset or something of value, such as an estate, trust, account, or insurance policy.

To put together a rock-solid estate plan, you’re going to want to enlist some professional help. Decide who you want on your team, what each person’s role is and what to ask yourself as you search for the right professional.