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Choosing people to carry out an estate plan

For many Ohio residents, the process of estate planning is too often undertaken with a narrow focus on providing instructions, yet there is an equally great need to focus on the people chosen to carry out those instructions. Estate plans can contain such wide-ranging choices as the naming of a guardian for children, health care and financial powers of attorney in case of incapacity, an executor under a will, and a trustee to manage assets in a trust. Rather than choosing haphazardly, Ohio residents are encouraged to select trusted people whose traits conform to the demands of these roles.

People who are frivolous with their own money or have filed for bankruptcy are usually not a good choice . Estate planning documents will provide guidance, but they are not fool-proof instructions. The person selected to administer athe estate should have traits and skills fitting the job, such as organization, experience in finance and proven ability to set and meet long-term financial goals.

The same concerns govern selection of a health care proxy in the estate plan. Guidance is provided by documents, but this person should be able to competently carry out the desires of the testator. Besides being trusted, traits to watch for include experience in health care or fulfillment of other care-giving responsibilities.

Jobs typically come with well-thought out descriptions and lists of duties, but employers may still have difficulty finding the right person. The same is true when drafting an estate plan. The notable exception in this analogy being that the people chosen cannot be fired for poor performance, except through litigation in some cases, after the testator has died or become incapacitated. Careful selection of the trusted people who will carry out a client's final wishes is just one part of the guidance that can be offered by an experienced estate planning attorney.

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