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  • Writer's pictureKathy L. McNair, Esq.

Choosing Your Fiduciaries Part 4: Why the Manager of Your Estate is Important



One of the critical fiduciary decisions that you will make is to decide who to appoint as the personal representative (also called Executor) of your estate. After you die, the personal representative of your estate is responsible for collecting your assets and ensuring that after your debts, taxes, and obligations are met, your assets are distributed according to your wishes to the people or charities you have chosen. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

 

1. Be sure to choose a “Do-er”:  The personal representative of your estate should be the type of person who gets things done, does not procrastinate and is organized.  If they don’t have their own life together, then chances are they won’t be a good choice for the job. If they fail to do their job the people (or charities) that you intended to inherit your assets, will be waiting a long time and may need to take legal action to remove the personal representative for failing to do their job. 

 

2.  The Manager of Your Estate will only deal with assets that were in your name alone at the time of your death: Any assets that you own jointly or name a beneficiary on will pass directly to the joint owner or beneficiary. The manager of your estate will not deal with these assets or any assets held in trust.  Understanding what you own and how it is titled is an important first step when preparing your estate plan.

 

3.  Check with the person you are naming first: The personal representative of your estate will be taking on a job. Make sure they are willing to take on the job. It’s possible that you could name someone as the personal representative of your estate, intending it to be an honor, but the person actually feels like it is a burden. This doesn’t make the person uncaring; rather, it allows you to name someone who will do the job willingly and well. If you struggle to find someone who is trustworthy or willing to do the job, consider appointing a professional fiduciary or an experienced attorney.

 

4. Leave a list of assets for your personal representative: Your personal representative will need a list to know where your assets are located and how they are titled. Are there any passwords that they will need to know? Taking an inventory of your assets, where they are located, how they are held (jointly or individually), and whether any beneficiaries are named, will help your personal representative do the job you have asked them to do. If there are any surprises, safety deposit boxes, or cash hidden in your home, be sure to let them know. 

 

Your personal representative will likely need assistance from a probate or estate planning lawyer to understand what will be expected of them and to gain insight into things like taxes, court costs, paying off debt, etc. With a little guidance the administration of your estate can run as smoothly as possible. Choosing the right person to serve as the fiduciary to manage your estate will ensure that your legacy is honored.


If you live in the Boston, Massachusetts, area and are interested in making sure your estate plan is up to date, or you would like to find a professional fiduciary at Senior Solutions Attorneys at Law, we are ready to help. To find out more, please call us at 617-489-5900 or use this link to schedule a free consultation: https://seniorsolutions.as.me/initialconsult. If you live elsewhere in the United States, please visit www.SoloAllies.com for a directory of professionals who help seniors planning on aging alone thrive.


We are caring Boston Elder Law attorneys, serving all of Massachusetts, and ready to help you with Medicaid and MassHealth Planning, Estate Planning, Guardianship, Conservatorship, Probate, and Special Needs Planning.

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