One Of The Things That You Have To Decide When You’re Setting Up Your Power Of Attorney.
Your last will and testament or your living trust is who you are going to name as your financial agent or your successor trustee. The decision needs to be thought out very carefully because that person will be given authority to manage your stuff when they take over control of your finances. But you have to always remember that this person will be subject to very strict laws: that they use all of your money for your benefit.
The First Thing To Think About When Choosing Your Agent Is:
1) Do you trust them inherently.
Trusting the person inherently because you have known them for a long time, you have seen how they manager their own finances and they have a trustworthy nature about them. This is the most important factor because there is not going to be anybody looking over their shoulder everyday as they act in that role.
The next requirement that I advise my clients about for a financial agent or successor trustee is 2) that the person is conveniently located.
When this person has to be serving in this role they need to have convenient access to you, your finances and your legal documents. If they have to travel to take care of you and your finances it’s going to be much more expensive and much more cumbersome.
The third element for consideration when picking your financial agent is 3) that they know and understand your personal wishes.
Even if you have your personal wishes stated clearly in a legal document (like a will or a trust) if your hand chosen agent or successor trustee has heard you describe and explain the personal intricacies of your wishes they will have a much easier time putting those into effect.
In addition, this person should know how to care for you and spend money on you while you’re alive if you are incapacitated.
If you can’t speak for yourself to say how you want your money spent while you’re alive and how you would like to be cared for during your incapacity then your agent is only left to guess at how you would want to be cared for. Nobody wants to guess whether you would want to live in a assisted living home or be cared for in your home by caregivers. But you can tell your agent these things beforehand.
Your agent or personal executor in Arizona is going to be responsible for providing you with regular updates on your financial situation. This means showing you regular bank statements showing where the money has gone, what the withdrawals are for, checks are accounted for. There should be no withdrawals of cash; everything should be documented by either a receipt or a check stub. Your agent is also going to be responsible for paying all your bills and filing your tax returns on an annual basis.
As you can read, there are a lot of considerations when picking your agent or your successor trustee. It’s important to think through the decision. But it is more important not to over-think them, which can cause you to never do any planning because you can’t come up with a perfect decision. Coming up with a good decision is much better than leaving the decision up to the probate courts in Arizona.