You’re Gone and Left Who in Charge?



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The Importance of Reviewing the Appointments in Your Will and Powers of Attorney

A key component when meeting with our clients is to regularly review provisions in their estate planning documents such as wills and powers of attorney.  One purpose of this review is to revisit who is designated/appointed to carry out the provisions of the documents.  For wills, these appointments include the people designated to serve as executor(s) or trustee(s) to administer the estate or any trusts created under the will.  With powers of attorney, the appointees may be in charge of a person’s medical care or their financial assets in the event that they cannot make decisions for themselves.

Who’s in charge?

Each of these appointments is important and requires a lot of thought.  These are the people or institutions that will be in charge of your financial affairs and medical care in the event that you are unable to do it yourself, either temporarily or permanently.  The attorney who prepares your documents will always discuss this during their engagement; however, thoughtful decisions made when you initially executed these documents may not be so optimal after the passage of years (or people!).  As we all know, time flies and things change.

One important example

We often find that parents who had younger children at the time their planning documents were prepared appointed friends or relatives to handle their affairs and to take care of their children.  If it has been many years since they executed their documents and their children are now older and more responsible, it may make more sense to appoint the adult children to assume these responsibilities.   This is particularly true with medical powers; we find that most people with adult children prefer for the children to be in charge of making medical decisions on their behalf.

Set up a regular review

To summarize, having an up to date will and other planning documents in place is very important. Having outdated documents can derail your plans and make a difficult situation worse than intended.  So, if you haven’t looked at your will lately, please dust it off and review it.  If you have a recent will (or you’re still happy with the old one) it is important to schedule periodic reviews in the future to make sure that you have the right people in the right places at the right time.  If you have questions, we will be glad to help answer them. We know a number of very competent attorneys and are always pleased to make a recommendation.

Horizon Wealth Advisors is a Houston based fee-only wealth management firm. Horizon is a fiduciary advisor. We specialize in helping successful individuals and families understand, organize, and manage their often complex financial situations. Horizon offers integrated financial planning and investment management services.

Larry Maddox, CFP®, CPA
Larry founded Horizon Advisors, LLC in Houston, Texas in 1999 with fellow business partner Joe Thomson. He collaborates with our wealth management team and other external advisors to provide comprehensive wealth management services.

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