These two roles are not the same and one person may not be the best fit for both.

When it comes to Estate Planning, two of the most important roles you will need to consider are the Executor of your Will and your Agent under Power of Attorney. While some people might assume that the same person should take on both roles, it is essential to understand that these positions require different skill sets and characteristics.

An Executor is responsible for managing and distributing your assets according to your Will after you pass away. This role requires someone who is organized, meticulous, and capable of handling complex legal and financial matters. Your executor should also be trustworthy and impartial, as they may need to make decisions that could impact the beneficiaries of your estate.

In contrast, an Agent is someone you appoint to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated or unable to manage your own affairs, while you are still living. This person should be levelheaded and able to respect your wishes, even if others attempt to influence their decisions. Your Agent should also be someone you trust implicitly, as they may need to make critical choices about your health care or finances.

Since Powers of Attorney come in two varieties (Financial and Health Care), it is not uncommon to have different people named as Agent. Your child may be a health care professional and very well versed in medical issues; he or she would be a good candidate for the Health Care Agent. Your sibling may blanch at the thought of stepping into a hospital or care facility but is highly organized with a knack for numbers. He or she is a good option for Financial Agent.

It can be tempting to fall back on naming all the kids together or naming them in age order. The more Executors or Agents named, the greater the risk for disagreements and less efficiency. An experienced elder law attorney knows everyone has different strengths and will encourage you to take them into consideration when choosing who you will name for these roles.

While it is not necessary for your Executor and Agent to be the same person, ultimately, the most important factor in making your choice is trust. These individuals will be responsible for managing your affairs during some of the most challenging times, so it is essential to select people you have full confidence in to carry out your wishes.

Marshall, Parker & Weber is open and available to help you assess what documents you may need or whether your current plan is in good shape. Call us at 800-401-4552 to schedule an appointment. You can also check out our portal for complimentary blog articles, videos and webinars.
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