Advantages of a Professional Fiduciary
Older adults who become incapacitated in some way may need someone else to manage their affairs. This can include decisions about healthcare and housing, as well as financial matters. Through estate planning documents, seniors can designate who will take on these roles when the time comes; depending on their situation, it may be in their best interest to enlist the help of a professional fiduciary.
A fiduciary is a person who takes on the management of a person’s property and assets when they are no longer able to manage them themselves; estate executors, trustees of a living trust or other account, or power of attorney all fall under this category. It is important to not only choose someone who can be trusted with this responsibility, but someone who understands how to manage these affairs properly. While many people choose a relative or close friend, there are a number of advantages to naming a professional fiduciary instead.
Professional Fiduciaries are Qualified and Regulated
A professional fiduciary can be a person or entity involved in finance, such as a certified public accountant, an attorney, a bank, or a financial firm. They are experienced in handling personal financial and estate matters and can be trusted to make objective decisions, as they are not personally invested. It may seem strange to appoint someone they do not know personally, but a professional fiduciary must meet legal obligations to act in the best interests of their clients. Professional fiduciaries should have the necessary certifications and must adhere to strict ethics guidelines; they are also insured in case the estate or trust sustains losses due to mismanagement.
Professional fiduciaries are an effective solution for seniors who may not have an obvious choice for these responsibilities. They may not have any closer relatives or friends; their loved ones may not live close enough to help or may have other obligations preventing them from doing the job. Professional fiduciaries have the time and resources to take proper care of the estate, and provisions can be written in to give the family power to dismiss them if they fail to do so. There is a fee associated with these services, but it should be established upfront when the documents are written.
It is tempting for parents to name one of their children to act as a fiduciary, as they are often the closest and most trusted relatives. While this approach works for some families, it can have disadvantages in other cases. If there is more than one child, naming one of them as a fiduciary can cause conflict, as they may disagree on how certain assets should be handled. Children may also be too close to the situation to make objective decisions that are in the best interest of the estate.
Brooklyn Elder Law Lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Help Clients Make Sound Estate Planning Decisions
An elder law attorney can provide valuable advice on choosing the right fiduciary when drafting an estate plan. The elder law lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP offer comprehensive, customized estate planning solutions to seniors and their families to make sure they and their property are in good hands. With offices conveniently located in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Lakewood, NJ, we help clients throughout New York and New Jersey. Call us today at 212-495-8133 or contact us online to speak to a Brooklyn elder law lawyer.