How to Decide On a Financial Decision Maker for Your Estate Plan

This is often a difficult decision. Some people struggle because they’d like to name all of their children, but understand that may only complicate the process. Others have a child or person in mind who is very capable, but he or she lives far away from them. Other people don’t have any children or friends who are a good fit to make these decisions.

If you struggle with this decision, here are some helpful tips:

1. Choose one or two financial decisions makers. Naming more than two children or people in this role will be very cumbersome and can make the process much more difficult for your family. Decide which one or two of your children are the best fit and then name the others as back-ups.  That way, all of them will be incorporated into the documents and shouldn’t feel forgotten about. 

2. Choose the most capable child or person who lives close to you. An increasing number of financial institutions require a decision maker to appear at a branch to be able to start making decisions. This can be very challenging if the child or person doesn’t live close by or there aren’t any branch locations nearby. Choosing a child or person who is close to you will avoid this issue.  On the other hand, if you have a child who is very capable and lives further away, consider naming him or her with another child who lives locally and gets along with the other.  They can work together as co-decision makers and the child who lives nearby can handle the local tasks.   

3. Choose a financial institution or trusted advisor if you don’t have family or friends who can serve in these roles. Some people don’t have someone close to them or aren’t comfortable naming their children in these roles. Choosing a trust company that’s affiliated with your bank or investment company can be an important option to consider.  You can also explore whether your CPA, an attorney, or other advisor can serve in this role.

This is a very important decision to make.  But, don’t let it prevent you from getting an estate plan in place. Failing to plan will only create more stress and cost for your loved ones.    

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