Once you create your estate plan, make sure you don't keep it a secret! It's very surprising to me just how many people fail to tell their designated trustees, executors, agents, guardians, etc., that they are part of their estate plan. What good is your legal toolbox if no one knows about it? Why bother assembling a team if you're not going to tell people they're on your team?
That's why it is very important to make sure all the people mentioned in your estate plan given various positions of responsibility should be advised they are part of your plan. Also, you need to let them know where your estate planning documents are. What good is it if they can't find your binder of documents when the time comes? These are two common errors I often see - people fail to inform their team members of their various roles, and they fail to inform their team where their legal documents are.
Therefore, you should first ask the people listed in your documents if they are willing to serve in various roles. It would be nicer to know up front whether or not they're willing to except the responsibility. In most cases, people are honored that you considered them. However, in some cases, they may let you know that they are not able to handle the role you want them to play. That may force you to consider other candidates, but that will be much better than choosing people who don't wish to serve.
Also, as indicated earlier, make sure that all the people on your team know where your estate planning binder is, and they all have access to it. In some cases, it might be wise to give your health care agents copies of your advanced health care directive. At the very least, they should know where the documents are.
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