Berman & Asbel, LLP

Choosing the executor and other roles in an estate plan

Choosing people for various responsibilities connected to an estate plan can be a daunting process for some people in Pennsylvania. For example, the person who is the executor or a trustee should be well-organized and good at managing money. That means that if a person's closest relative has a history of bankruptcy or issues with spending too much money, they might not be the best choice.

Different skills are needed by someone who will be in charge of making medical decisions for the person or who will be a child's guardian if the parents die. If a person has a professional background in any of these areas, they might be good choices. For example, someone who has worked in banking or finance could be a good choice for executor while a nurse could be a good choice for the person who makes medical decisions.

Whatever their background, all of these people should have the opportunity to turn down these roles. A person preparing an estate plan should discuss the responsibilities and ask the people they nominate if they are willing to accept them.

Talking about the estate plan with family can be important whether or not they have roles in the plan. Making sure that they have an idea of what will be in the estate plan may help reduce the likelihood that it will be misunderstood. Working with an attorney may be another way to ensure that a person's wishes are clearly stated in the estate plan. Some documents connected with an estate plan may require precise legal wording in order to remain unambiguous or legally binding. Furthermore, an attorney might also be able to advise a person about options for the estate plan, such as the varied use of trusts, that they may have been unaware of.

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