Part of estate planning involves selecting a fiduciary, the person who will play the role of managing and distributing your assets according to your wishes after your death.
Your fiduciary can be an executor, trustee, or personal representative, and their role is extremely important because they are tasked with acting in the best interests of your beneficiaries and heirs. For this reason, it is important to consider the following characteristics prior to selecting your fiduciary:
Integrity and trust
Trust is the cornerstone of any fiduciary relationship. Ensure that the individual you select consistently displays and demonstrates unwavering integrity and a commitment to acting in the best interests of the people they serve.
Your fiduciary must deeply understand finances, especially if your estate is complex. The more complex, the more experience you should want in your fiduciary to ensure they are qualified to fill that role without a high risk of error.
Estate laws in Florida are complicated. Understanding how the laws work and what can and cannot be done regarding your estate is critical. Consider someone with a deep legal understanding or someone who works closely with legal professionals.
The responsibilities of a fiduciary can be time-consuming. At the same time, you want to select someone who will pick up the phone when you, your beneficiaries, or your heirs call them. Some fiduciaries juggle so many clients simultaneously that they can’t devote time to each client.
Experience and expertise
Your fiduciary should know how to provide the services they offer and deliver consistent quality and responsiveness.
Understanding your wishes
One of the most important aspects of choosing a fiduciary is knowing that they truly understand what you want to do with your assets after you pass. Sometimes wishes are pretty straightforward, and other times they can be complex, which is why your fiduciary must be capable of meeting your unique needs and be able to fully comprehend your desires, why you want what you want, and if possible, take the time to get to know you so they understand you even more.
Choosing a fiduciary might seem like an easy task. In reality, however, it is a task that people should take their time on and consider many factors before selecting one. Choosing the right person could make the difference between a smooth transition of assets and fiduciary litigation, which you probably want to avoid as much as possible.