Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC

Overcoming potential problems in an estate plan

There could be hidden problems in the estate plans created by Connecticut residents. In most cases, the most common hidden problem is the person who creates the plan. This is because that person may not name the appropriate people to fill roles related to executing the plan.

Some of the common roles that need to be filled include executor, trustee and agent. The agent is a person who acts on someone else's behalf if he or she becomes incapacitated. Trustees oversee any trusts that have been created while the executor handles the will during probate. Ideally, one person will be tasked with filling one role. Having multiple individuals filling the same role can be inefficient and cause confusion.

Anyone who is named to a key role in an estate plan needs to be qualified to hold that position. In addition to understanding their duties, it needs to be clear that a person has no conflict of interest before becoming a trustee or executor. Furthermore, those expected to fill a role within an estate need to be told about their duties ahead of time. Otherwise, it may be difficult or impossible for a person to do the job properly.

Wills, trusts and other estate plan documents may help to preserve assets and minimize the opportunity for family infighting. An attorney may help a person craft these documents properly. The attorney may also provide insight into how to choose an executor or who should act as an agent. In some cases, legal counsel may act as a trustee or executor. An attorney could also act as a co-trustee to help meet a person's needs.

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