When you create an estate plan, you name one or more people to manage your affairs in the event of your death or incapacitation. The individual or individuals who take on these administrative duties on your behalf are fiduciaries.
The documents you include in your estate plan determine how many fiduciary roles you need to fill. Here are some examples of fiduciaries you may need to include in your estate plan.
Health care agent
According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, you name someone to act as your health care agent when you create a medical power of attorney. If, at some point in the future, you become incapacitated and no longer have the ability to make health care decisions for yourself, your health care agent can make them for you. You can put limits on the extent of your health care agent’s authority.
When you write a will, you name an executor who is responsible for carrying out the instructions that the will sets out. The executor’s duties include filing income taxes, distributing bequests and closing the estate. Any property or personal assets that you include in your will is probate property and therefore the responsibility of the executor.
If you have a trust, the trustee is its administrator, just as the executor is the administrator of your will and probate property. Like an executor, a trustee’s responsibilities include distributing assets to beneficiaries. However, an executor only distributes assets once, while the trust often stipulates that the distributions happen gradually over a long period of time.
If there are only a couple of fiduciary roles in your estate plan, you could ask the same person to fulfill both. However, each of these roles carries a lot of responsibility with it. The larger your estate plan, the more sense it makes to name different individuals for each fiduciary role.