New York Office535 Fifth Avenue, 4th floor
New York, NY 10017
Office: (212) 427-2049
Fax: (212) 202-6077
cari@rinckerlaw.com
Skype: Cari.Rincker
Illinois Offices301 N. Neil Street, Suite 400
Champaign, IL 61820
229 E Main Street
Shelbyville, IL 62565
Office: (217) 531-2179
Fax: (217) 531-2211

The Estate Planning Cast of Characters

 

Who should I pick as trustee?

Trustees manage assets contained within a trust. To figure out how to select the right person for the job, first consider whether the trustee should be an individual or a financial institution. If choosing an individual, pick someone you know who is diligent and detail-oriented, and whom you trust to carry out your clear instructions.

What does a successor trustee do?

A successor trustee can also be either an individual or an institution. This party serves as a back-up, or successor, to the original trustee in case the first trustee passes away or is incapable or unwilling to perform their duties regarding the management of your trust.

Should I pick a corporate trustee?

While it’s straightforward enough to pick a friend or family member you think will be up to the task, picking a corporate trustee is the best option for some people. Banks and trust companies that focus on trusteeship provide expert management. Being unrelated to your personal life, you can also rely on them to be impartial. However, corporate trustees do come at a cost.

What does a guardian do?

Guardians and conservators are court-appointed individuals who make decisions on a person’s behalf in the event of mental or physical incapacity. This can be avoided by adding proper powers of attorney, and explicit directions for them, to your estate plan.

What’s the difference between my health care agent and my financial agent?

While there is some overlap, health care and financial agents are two distinct roles within an estate plan. Your health care agents, also referred to as health care powers of attorney or health care proxy, are responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf and may also implement your pre-arranged instructions if you experience incapacity. Likewise, financial agents can manage your wealth, pay bills, file taxes, purchase insurance, and adjust investments for you if you become unable to do so yourself. They may or may not be the same person; it’s up to you to decide who is best for each role.

What does personal representative mean — is that different than an executor?

A personal representative is the same as an executor. This is the individual or institution named in a will who becomes responsible for carrying out the instructions provided in your will during the probate process.