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Who is on your bench?

Who is on your bench?

We’ve all watched the sports games and wondered why more so many players are sitting on the bench? We know we need our starting players. But, just how many backup players does a team really need? Well, when it comes to your estate planning, the answer is: maybe more than one.

Here at Francois Legal Group, we help our clients draft and execute core estate planning provisions and documents including medical directives, power of attorneys, and will. In all of these documents, we strongly advice our clients to identify alternates for their Personal Representative, and alternate agents for their Medical Directives and Power of Attorney.

The other day, I was reviewing a will that only identified one Personal Representative, who was unfortunately unavailable because of her own death. The person who requested a review wanted to step up and administer the estate, but was concerned that others expressed similar desires to be nominated as the Personal Representative. Without everyone agreeing on one person, this could become an issue for this family and it could ultimately lead to the court having to make a decision.

In my practice, I’ve come across documents drafted prior to my firm’s involvement provide for an initial designated agent — be it the agent under a medical directive, or a guardian for minor children in a will— and for reasons unknown, no alternate representative was designated in the planning documentation. This is compounded by instances where the initially designated representative was not available to serve at the time needed. This may be due to the designated person’s own passing or incapacity. Identifying an alternate in the planning process creates a backup plan for the unforeseen circumstances.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to refocus your estate planning documents. Our firm is available to assist you in reviewing or drafting your existing estate planning documentation and to counsel you in the way that best serves your and your family’s needs.