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Fiduciary duties and estate planning

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2022 | Estate Planning

Estate planning can be a daunting prospect, with many not knowing where to start. Typically, nobody wants to think about death, at least not for any significant amount of time.

Despite this, the benefits of estate planning are undeniable. Security can be offered for your young children and your final wishes can be fulfilled. However, you cannot build an estate plan on your own, you will typically require assistance from other people.

Understanding your options  

The first part of estate planning is realizing what options you have at your disposal. Unless you are involved in this area personally, then it will take some time to garner an understanding of the different estate planning tools. You may rely on information coming from different people that you hire, and they are obliged to look after you and give you information that is accurate. If you are parting with money for the purpose of creating your estate plan, then those paid to assist you owe you a fiduciary duty, which means putting your best interests first at all times.

Managing your trusts

The person elected to manage trusts that you have created is known as a trustee. They must look after the various assets within a trust and ensure that they are distributed according to instructions. Trustees should not be self-serving, they are obliged to cater to the needs of the beneficiaries named within the trust. Trustees have a fiduciary status.

Distributing your assets

 One of the most important aspects of your estate plan will be to implement the division of your assets when you become incapacitated. In short, you want to make sure that inheritance is going to the right people. This duty will be assigned to an executor, who is tasked with handling your wishes should something happen to you. They must honor those wishes and not deviate, which requires trust, or a fiduciary relationship.

For your final wishes to be honored you rely on trustworthy people to build and implement your estate plan. If they fail in this regard, there may be a number of legal options open to you.