One of the biggest decisions you will face when creating your estate plan is picking your decision makers. Too often we hear, “I will just have both of my kids be my decision makers.” That is just asking for trouble.
It does not matter that they are “best of friends” or “peas in a pod”, the fact is, even if those statements are 100% true, there are practical hurdles that add time and complexity to an already complicated situation (keep in mind, your choice of decision maker is coming into effect during an emotionally charged time – death or incapacity).
I can say that my three brothers and I get along. But we live across three states, have varying “world views”, and have spouses that may not share our perspective on life and finances. We also only see each once or twice a year – it is a different view of “getting along” versus if we were neighbors. If my parents chose to have two or more of us to administer their estate, the one thing that would be assured – it would not be easy (or cheap) to get it all done.
So I advise my clients to pick one, and then instruct them to collaborate “behind the scenes”. This gives the estate “one face”, one person to sign on the bottom line. And it still achieves the unity objective of the client (since there should be collaboration). If my client says they don’t know which one to pick, I tell them, half-jokingly, to “pick the one they like least,” since it is that person who will be doing the work, while the other simply reaps the benefits of being a beneficiary.
Who is your decision maker? Make sure it is someone you trust to do what is best and right by you. And if you are thinking of having multiple people fill the role, come in and meet with one of our estate planning attorneys so we can discuss the pros and cons, to make the transition as easy as possible for those who you care about.
Contributed by Morris Hall, PLLC Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, James P. Plitz.
About Morris Hall, PLLC:
At Morris Hall, PLLC we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 45 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Carefree, Tucson, Oro Valley, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.