Your decision-makers will be responsible for ensuring your plan is followed and your wishes are honored.
Here’s a description of the types of decision-makers in an estate plan:
- Medical Power of Attorney (or Medical Agent): Someone to make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. This person only makes medical decisions during periods when you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions on your own.
This person should be someone that you would trust to consider your needs and make choices based on what you would likely decide if you could speak for yourself. Should you be unable to make medical decisions, your Medical Power of Attorney will speak with your medical providers, consider your wishes, review your Advance Medical Directive, and provide consent and instructions to medical providers responsible for your care.
- Financial Power of Attorney (or Financial Agent): Someone to make financial decisions for you as needed. This person will be able to make non-medical decisions for you if you are unable to. For example, your Financial Power of Attorney can move funds to finance your medical care or pay your bills if you become incapacitated.
- Personal Representative: Someone to wrap up your affairs after you die. This person will be responsible for reviewing the instructions you have left in your will and ensure your wishes are carried out when you die. This will include tasks such as closing your accounts, paying off any final debts, and handing the probate process.
- Guardian: Someone to take care of your kids after you die (if you have minor children). This person will take care of your minor children if you die. They will step in as a parent and handle all related responsibilities. This includes things like providing for their needs, making schooling decisions, and determining medical care until your children are 18. This person should be someone you trust to step into this role.
- Trustee: Someone to manage the assets of your trust (should you decide to create a trust). This person is responsible for ongoing trust administration if you decide to hold assets in a trust to be distributed to your beneficiaries at a later time. Or this person will distribute the assets to your beneficiaries upon your death if that is your wish.
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