The NCPC publishes periodic articles under the title "Planning for Eldercare". Each article is written to help families recognize the need for long term care planning and to help implement that planning. All elderly people, regardless of current health, should have a long term care plan. Learn More...
From its inception, the goal of the National Care Planning Council has been to educate the public on the importance of planning for long term care. With that goal in mind, we have created the largest and most comprehensive source of long term care planning material available anywhere. This material -- "Guide to Long Term Care Planning" -- is free to the public for downloading and printing on all of our web sites. Learn More...
By Julie Garber, About.com Guide
A fiduciary is a person or institution given the power to act on behalf of another in situations that require great trust, honesty and loyalty. Fiduciaries you may already be familiar with include accountants, attorneys, bankers, business advisors, financial advisors, mortgage brokers and real estate agents. These individuals are hired to act in your best interest and must set aside their own personal motives in favor of your goals.
When it comes to estate planning, you'll be selecting a variety of fiduciaries to act on your behalf:
In some cases the person you name to serve as the fiduciaries in all of your estate planning documents will be one in the same person. For instance, if you're married, your spouse may be named in all capacities. If you're single, however, you may decide to name different people or institutions to serve in different capacities. In addition, it's important to choose one or more alternative fiduciaries if your first choice can't serve, or a court will be required to select a successor for you.
When it comes time to make a decision about a fiduciary, the person setting up this arrangement should not make that decision lightly. Just because a child or a friend or a trusted advisor are close to the person setting up the arrangement, this does not mean that any one of these people would be a good fiduciary. It should also be remembered that fiduciaries, in most cases, can or should be reimbursed for their efforts. Thus, the decision should not rest on whether the elected person has the time or is willing to do it free of charge.
Sometimes the best choice is a disinterested third party. Trust companies fill this role.
Trust companies are valuable partners in the management of trusts and in the process of estate planning. These companies, for a small fee, will manage and invest assets, maintain escrow accounts, hold property pending an exchange sale, provide life insurance and income annuities and provide safekeeping of valuables.
Many people who create trusts or wills or both will designate a trust company or bank to be a trustee for their property instead of using a member of the family or close friend to do this. The reason is that, all too often, assets are mismanaged or even stolen by family members or friends. Using a trust company that has a legally mandated, government-supervised fiduciary obligation avoids this problem.