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  • Writer's pictureKathy L. McNair, Esq.

Choosing Your Fiduciaries Part 5: Should Distance Be a Dealbreaker?

One of the most important decisions seniors face when planning for the future is choosing a fiduciary. This person will have the authority to make critical decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so. But what if your top choice for a fiduciary is a family member who lives far away? Here are some factors to consider:

1. Communication

How often do you communicate with this family member? Regular, open communication is crucial for a fiduciary. They need to understand your wishes, financial situation, and health status. If you're not in regular contact, they might not have the information they need to make informed decisions on your behalf.

2. Availability

Is this family member busy with their own life, job, or family? Acting as a fiduciary, especially a power of attorney, can be time-consuming and requires a high level of organization. They may need to visit banks, understand your finances, and take on a significant role in managing your affairs. Are they truly up for it?

3. Proximity

In case of a health crisis, can they come quickly to figure out what's going on? If they live far away and have a busy job or family, they might be unable to be there when you need them most.

4. Trustworthiness

Are they organized and trustworthy? These are essential qualities for a fiduciary. They will handle your finances and make decisions that can significantly impact your life.

At the end of the day, you need someone who will be there for you. If you're not sure your family member can fulfill this role due to distance or other factors, you might be better off naming a professional fiduciary. Alternatively, you could put your family member in the first position and a professional fiduciary in the second position. This way, if it's not a good time for your family member to take on such a level of commitment, you have a backup plan.  You can always change your legal documents if you change your mind.   It is critical to have some plan in place to protect yourself, as, without legal documents in place, you risk losing control over your life and having the court intervene. 

The goal is to ensure your wishes are respected and your needs are met. If you are looking for a professional fiduciary, visit, for a directory of professionals nationwide who can help you. If you live in the Greater Boston, Massachusetts area, we are elder law attorneys and professional fiduciaries, who are ready to help you. To learn more, please call us at 617-489-5900 or use this link to schedule a free consultation:

We are caring Boston, Massachusetts 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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