How much does it cost to hire an executor?

How much does it cost to hire an executor?

When folks reach out about hiring me as their executor, price is top of mind for many (if not all). So let’s go over what it costs to hire a professional executor, including fees and other expenses. We’ll start with the basics.

E338 Should I Sell my Home Before I Die?

E338 Should I Sell My Home Before I Die?

This is a very common question that we get from Solo Agers. We’ll review the pros and cons of making that decision.

Reasons to sell your home before you die

Reasons to sell your home before you die
The biggest reason Solo Agers want to sell their home before they die is because they don’t want to leave a mess for their loved ones. Otherwise, there may be a lot of cleaning, maintenance, and packing for the heirs to do. Additionally, the house may need renovations before it is in sellable condition.
 
Another reason is that Solo Agers may want to downsize anyway. Downsizing is a different topic, so we won’t focus on that here.

Reasons to leave selling your home to your executor after you die

Reasons to leave selling your home to your executor after you die
I often suggest that our Solo Agers live where they want and leave the task of selling the home to the executor after they pass.
 
Don’t spend your final years cleaning, packing, staging, and moving if that’s not what you want to do. It’s probably not on your bucket list to clean out your garage before you die. Do those things you always wanted to do. Enjoy life!
 
If you still feel that obligation to put things in order for your heirs, please know that probate is a mess no matter what. Don’t bother trying to leave it perfect. What if you clean out your home and you live longer than you expected? Now a new mess will accumulate. Even if you could know the exact date of your death, it still won’t work out perfectly.
 
Another example of “helping” heirs is making treasure maps to your keys or passwords. Don’t do it. You may move your keys or change your password and forget to update your treasure map. You don’t need to spend your final days and years making your death convenient for everyone else.
 
If you are still worried about burdening your heirs or executor, you could hire a professional executor. This could be us, or a bank, or a fiduciary company. It is the job of the professional executor to handle the cleanout, renovations, etc. Because we do these things so often, it’s not a big deal for us. And if something complex were to happen, then that’s our job, too. That’s what we get paid for. You can rest knowing that your professional executor is experienced and capable. You won’t have to burden your heirs with the tasks, and you won’t have to spend your final years worrying about what will happen after you die.
Most Solo Agers are relieved when they learn that a professional executor can handle all of this. My book, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan,” can help you decide which tasks (if any) you should worry about before you die.
 
I enjoy meeting more and more Solo Agers; it’s a growing population. As I work with them, I also learn a lot of things that I can pass along to all of you.

The Solo Ager Estate Plan Cover 3D

Complete this form to receive your complimentary copy of Anthony’s Amazon best-seller, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan

reCAPTCHA is required.

 


E334 Why Hire a Professional Trustee

E334 Why Hire a Professional Trustee?


I do serve as a professional trustee, not just executor, or our Solo Ager clients. We’ll cover why our Solo Ager clients are looking for a professional trustee, why they don’t use banks, and how much it costs to hire a professional trustee.

Disputes between trustee and beneficiary

Disputes between trustee and beneficiary

Why are our Solo Ager clients looking for a professional trustee? The main reason is because of potential disputes between the trustee and the beneficiaries. Unfortunately, this kind of conflict is very common, even more so than between heirs and executors.

A trust creates a much longer relationship: an estate lasts a year, worst case 2-3 years. Even with tax issues and selling the estate assets, there is at least a finite relationship where the heirs can see the finish line. The heirs and executor can probably learn to put up with each other, because they know that there is an end in sight. Whereas, a trust can last decades. It usually deals with the duration of someone’s life.

A trustee usually has to make more discretionary decisions than an executor. Often, trusts are written so that the trustee can decide how and when to distribute money to a beneficiary. For example, a trustee can make a “distribution for the health and education or comfort” of the beneficiary. This can get very awkward if heirs and trustee all know each other (siblings, friends, cousins, etc.), and the heirs have to prove to the trustee why they need the money. The heirs may not want to disclose certain health or financial issues to a trustee who is close with them. Even discussing the heirs’ standard of living means that the trustee will know what the heirs spend their money on. There could be a lot of details that you wouldn’t share with your family or friends otherwise. This is why having a professional trustee could make the situation easier.

With an estate, the heirs are the people named in the will or the intestate heirs named by law if there is no will. A trust has multiple layers of beneficiaries. There are beneficiaries of the income of the trust and also beneficiaries who receive whatever is left when the trust maker dies. Those are very different incentives: the income beneficiaries want as much income generated and paid out to them as possible, whereas the beneficiaries at the end do not want the trust money to be spent or distributed so that they can still receive some. This can be a difficult balance even for professional trustees, so imagine how dicey it would be for a trustee who has a relationship with the heirs.

Naming a bank as trustee

Naming a bank as trustee

Why not name a bank, trust company or other fiduciary company as trustee? Some of our Solo Agers have shared their experiences with us, and they tell us it often doesn’t work well because of minimums or bureaucracy.

Many of these institutions have minimum trust size requirements to qualify, or else they will just reject you. Surprisingly, these minimums can be quite high, because they only want to deal with people who have a lot of money. Even if your trust meets the minimum right now, make sure you have a sufficient amount to qualify by the time you actually need the bank to act as your trustee. For example, the bank’s minimum requirements might increase at a rate that outpaces the growth of your trust assets. If that happens, your trust may no longer be eligible and your trust won’t have a trustee anymore. Another example is when you need to use the trust money during your lifetime to pay the income beneficiaries or medical bills. Taking too much money out of the trust could also disqualify you from using the bank as your trustee.

What about the bureaucracy? We’ve heard from many folks that it is a frustrating and lengthy process just to get approved by the bank. This doesn’t necessarily relate to the minimum requirement; it just takes so long to get your application approved. You’d think it would be the other way around: a person entrusting an institution with their life savings should be vetting the banks! It feels more like asking the bank for a loan rather than asking them to be your fiduciary. On top of that, there is no guarantee you will talk to the same person each time. Whereas with a professional trustee, you know exactly who you hired.

For these two reasons, many clients have reported that they just gave up trying to deal with the financial institutions.

How much does it cost to hire a trustee?

How much does it cost to hire a trustee?

In most cases, there is no cost now, because most trusts are usually revocable or a testamentary trust. So, you won’t need a professional trustee until you pass away. Since no one is doing the job now, there is no cost now.

Once a trustee is needed, the cost for a professional trustee is the same as an amateur. Just as with an executor, the trustee fees are set by state law. If it costs the same to use a professional trustee as it does an amateur, it’s a no-brainer to choose the experienced professional! It’s a fair assumption to assume it costs more to hire a professional trustee, but fortunately, that is not the case.

Thank you to our listeners who’ve submitted questions like this. It helps our Solo Agers to know that they’re in good company. If you have not done so already, click the link below to receive a free E-copy of my book, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan.”

The Solo Ager Estate Plan Cover 3D

Complete this form to receive your complimentary copy of Anthony’s Amazon best-seller, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan

reCAPTCHA is required.

 

E329 Professional Executor for Physician-Assisted Dying

E329 Professional Executor for Physician-Assisted Dying


Physician-Assisted Dying has other names that might be familiar: death with dignity, aid in dying, assisted death, euthanasia, and assisted suicide

Since we’ve received many inquiries from our Solo Agers, here some of your FAQs:

Making arrangements from Switzerland

Making arrangements from Switzerland

Can my professional executor help make arrangements from Switzerland after I pass?

Switzerland is often the go-to jurisdiction, but there may be others in the U.S. The medical facilities need to know who to notify upon death, and we have filled the role as the entity to be notified. You also need to make arrangements to send final personal effects (phone, wallet) after your passing. Again, we have been in that role before, and we have coordinated the receipt of the personal belongings.

Live your last days to the fullest

Live your last days to the fullest

If you are scheduling a physician-assisted death, you have to weigh the balance between preparing and living your life to the fullest.

We get calls from Solo Agers who are very focused on preparing and tying up any loose ends (cleaning out and selling their home). Our advice is to go ahead and take care of the low-stress items but leave the rest to us. It is our job to figure things out upon your passing, and it’s very unlikely that you will think of everything that needs to be done anyway. There is a limit to how much you will be able to help us, no matter how hard you try. Most folks have not gone through probate enough to know what needs to be done, so it’s better to let us handle it. Most people pass away unexpectedly and most things are generally unorganized anyway.

Instead, do your best to enjoy your remaining time and complete that bucket list!

To disclose or not to disclose

To disclose or not no disclose

Do I need to tell my executor that I plan to have a physician-assisted death? It’s totally up to you; we’ve dealt with both.

Telling us helps us be ready on the scheduled date. But if you prefer your privacy, it’s no problem; we’ve done that too. Most deaths are unexpected, so we are used to it.

Perhaps your loved ones don’t know that your death was planned. As professional executors, we know how to handle the situation tactfully.

Click the link below to check out my book, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan.” This topic is not covered specifically in my book, but it will help you learn more about probate in general.

The Solo Ager Estate Plan Cover 3D

Complete this form to receive your complimentary copy of Anthony’s Amazon best-seller, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan

reCAPTCHA is required.

 

E325 Do You Need a Lawyer to Make a Will

E325 Do You Need a Lawyer to Make a Will?


Our Solo Agers friends often ask this when they’re ready to name me executor in their will. We support well-done DIY wills and anything that helps make your plan as frictionless as possible. Some kind of plan is almost always better than no plan!

So, do you need a lawyer to make a will? No, we’re not aware of any state that requires a lawyer to make your will. We do nonetheless recommend that our Solo Agers at least hire a lawyer to supervise the signing. Here’s why:

Signing ceremony technicalities

Signing ceremony technicalities

A signing ceremony sounds like a long, drawn-out event, but it could last as little as 15 minutes. Still, there are many technicalities to follow, or else the will may be invalid.

Just a few examples, the person making the will (the testator) has to make a proper declaration in the will. The pages of the will must also be stapled together, or else there is a potential for page-swapping. Lastly, to demonstrate that the testator is competent to sign a will, lawyers often chit-chat about current events with the testator. If testimony is ever needed to prove that the testator is competent, then the witnesses can refer back to that conversation.

If any of the technicalities go wrong, then the will may be invalid. Yes, DIY services provide detailed instructions for drafting your will, but most people don’t follow instructions to a T (or even read the instructions). It’s easy to miss a step and invalidate the whole will.

It’s much easier to get an experienced attorney to supervise the signing. It’s also cheaper than hiring an attorney to draft your entire estate plan.

Lawyer-supervised presumptions

Lawyer-supervised presumptions

In many states, the probate court will give the benefit of the doubt if the signing was supervised by a lawyer.

For example, the court is more likely to accept a self-proving affidavit signed by your witnesses, instead of requiring the witnesses to appear in court to testify. Suppose you die 15 years later…tracking down the witnesses, getting them to agree to come to court, and having them accurately recollect your signing ceremony would be very hard. There is no guarantee that they will remember that day or even still be alive.

Without the lawyer supervision and the self-proving affidavit, it may be harder for your executor to probate your estate.

Best will witnesses

Best will witnesses

DIY wills often use subpar witnesses. It’s natural to want to ask family and friends to witness, because they are close to you. Using a witness who is named in the will or who could potentially inherit your estate creates a conflict of interest. Their testimony as a witness won’t hold up well in court because they have beneficial interest.

But, it’s also not the best idea to grab a passer-by as a witness (UPS delivery person, doorman, bank teller). If you don’t even know the witness, chances are it will be hard for your heirs to find them if ever needed. Sometimes the address they provide is the physical address where they signed!

For these reasons, lawyers will provide their own experienced witnesses (paralegals, other staff, the lawyer’s spouse, etc.). These people have witnessed wills many times before and can give good testimony if needed.

If you decide to do your own will, at least have the signing supervised by an experienced attorney. For more answers to your estate planning questions, click the link below to receive your free electronic copy of my book, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan.”

The Solo Ager Estate Plan Cover 3D

Complete this form to receive your complimentary copy of Anthony’s Amazon best-seller, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan

reCAPTCHA is required.

 

E321 The Frictionless Solo Ager Estate Plan

E321 The Frictionless Solo Ager Estate Plan


A frictionless first estate plan is a great first step for Solo Agers with no plan at all. It helps Solo Agers clarify their thinking and decisions, all while having a basic plan in place in the meantime.

Why Solo Agers need a frictionless first plan

Why solo agers need a frictionless first plan

We’ve heard from many folks who are stressed because they have no plan whatsoever. In general, Solo Agers don’t have the traditional heirs and family members available to fill the executor role, so it is important to have something in place.

The reason why many Solo Agers don’t have a plan is often because of analysis paralysis. While estate planning is a series of decisions, some people get stuck analyzing every detail. Of course, there is also the fear of making the wrong decisions and the consequences that come from that. The biggest fear is choosing the wrong fiduciaries.

Why a frictionless plan?

Why a frictionless plan?

A frictionless plan is a version of your estate plan that is as low-cost and as low-headache as possible.

When your estate plan is low-cost, psychologically it is easier to make decisions, because you realize that it’s not a big deal to make changes if needed. People feel more at ease when spending a few hundred dollars versus a few thousand dollars to create a plan and make changes when needed. Low-cost solutions allow you to easily reverse or change your plan and not feel like it is set in stone.

With a low-cost solution, the fear of making changes won’t prevent you from having any plan at all.

Example of a frictionless solo ager estate plan

Example of a frictionless solo ager estate plan

Our plan for a frictionless Solo Ager estates includes three steps:

First, make a do-it-yourself will using one of the software programs that we’ve reviewed. One that we are currently recommending is Free Will. For basic wills, it gets the job done. https://anthonyspark.com/e187-3-best-free-diy-will-software/

Second, name a professional executor. If you feel comfortable with us, name us for now. It doesn’t have to be your final decision; you can change the executor any time.  https://anthonyspark.com/professional-executor/

Third, have an attorney-supervised signing. This is the biggest (low) cost involved. The reason we recommend an attorney-supervised signing is because there are a lot of technicalities to having a legally binding will signing. If you mess up even one or two parts, all of your hard work becomes moot. In the New York area, you can hire an attorney and their staff to witness the signing of your self-prepared will for $200 or $300 (compared to the thousands of dollars to hire an attorney to draft your estate plan). The cost of an attorney-supervised signing could be even lower outside of the New York area.  https://anthonyspark.com/e273-diy-will-vs-lawyers-for-solo-agers/

We hope that by outlining these low-cost options, you will be confident in creating a bare-bones plan as a safety-net to get you started.

Free copy of “The Solo Ager Estate Plan”

To learn more about estate planning for Solo Agers, click the link below to get your free copy of my book, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan.”

The Solo Ager Estate Plan Cover 3D

Complete this form to receive your complimentary copy of Anthony’s Amazon best-seller, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan

reCAPTCHA is required.
E316 Estate Planning Dos and Don't Bothers for Solo Agers

E316 Estate Planning Dos and Don’t Bothers for Solo Agers

Since we do so many probates, we see what parts of your planning actually helped with probate (dos), and which ones didn’t really matter (don’t bothers).

We are reviewing this info so that you don’t spend too much of your valuable time on planning that won’t help all that much. This is based on our annual executor check in calls, in which we hear from our clients who have well intended plans to gather information for us, should we need it. Which in most cases, we don’t. We are trying to save you stress and make the estate planning process a little bit easier.

Solo ager estate planning “dos”

Solo ager estate planning “dos”

Good and proper storage of original documents is important. It’s best to keep the original with your professional executor or other third party. Do not keep it yourself. This is for many reasons, such as access your home or apartment. Additionally, if a third party loses your will, probate could still move forward with a copy. However, if you lose it, it’s presumed that you intentionally destroyed it. Same goes for a safe deposit box – it’s hard to get access to this. It’s not impossible, but it’s very challenging.

Update your emergency contacts and be sure your executor is among those listed. An emergency contact list should be given to someone who will know of your death. This could be a building manager, doorman, neighbor, primary care physician, etc. You want to make sure they know who to notify in the event of your passing, including of importance, your executor and next of kin.

You should also review your beneficiary designations. We have talked before about why we don’t like beneficiary designations, but if you have them, make sure up to date. Or better yet, get rid of them. You certainly want to make sure they represent your wishes, and not your wishes 10 or 20 years ago.

“Don’t bothers” for your solo ager estate plan

“Don’t bothers” for your solo ager estate plan

Don’t use treasure maps. We have received detailed letters and emails with where the will is, where their important documents are, and even where their spare keys are. More often than not, the location of these items will change by the time of your passing. It may take us longer to use the treasure map to find them than it would to simply look on our own. Plus, it would be a waste of time searching if they have been moved. It’s not worth the amount of time you’d spend writing this type of “map.”

We don’t need contact lists. Typically, the lists we’ve seen include building managers, financial advisors, etc. These change often. We find when we make these calls, the people on the list no longer even work there.

Speaking of lists, detailed lists of assets which include balances and very specific info is also not needed. High level information is good enough (such as the name of financial institution). Balances change daily, so by the time you write it down, it’s likely changed.

Sort of helpful

There are a few things we would categorize as sort of helpful, but you don’t need to spend time on these, if you don’t want.

Sort of helpful

Password lists are one example of a sort of helpful thing to do. A list is nice to have, but post-death access to online accounts is not permitted, even if we have your password and log in. We simply can’t use those passwords. Email and social accounts may have some use to be able to access names and addresses, although again, we have rarely used these. Same with phone passwords. We seldom log into a decedent’s phone, and if we do, it’s only to find a contact name that we couldn’t find elsewhere.

A high level asset list is sort of helpful. It will give us a general sense of what you own to point us in the right direction. We would use this list along with the other items we collect (mail, past tax returns, bank statements, etc.) to be sure we aren’t missing something.

A list of contacts that are likely to not change is also sort of helpful. This includes next of kin, your primary care doctor, and possibly your CPA. It’s good info to know, but likely, we would get the newest information from the documents we have gathered.

Solo Ager Book

If you don’t already have my book, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan,” click the link below for a copy.

Free copy of “The Solo Ager Estate Plan”

The Solo Ager Estate Plan Cover 3D

Complete this form to receive your complimentary copy of Anthony’s Amazon best-seller, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan

reCAPTCHA is required.
E312 Why Beneficiary Designations Are Bad

E312 Why Beneficiary Designations Are Bad


It’s understandable that beneficiary designations seem like an excellent and easy estate planning tool. But from our experience, when someone actually dies, beneficiary designations are often bad news.

We’ll describe a few reasons why beneficiary designations cause problems in probate when estate plans become reality. Then you can decide for yourself if beneficiary designations are worth the risk.

Outdated beneficiary designations don’t reflect your wishes

Outdated beneficiary designations, don’t reflect your wishes

Often, by the time a person dies, their beneficiary designations are way outdated and no longer reflect the wishes of the decedent. How do we know that the designations are outdated? The beneficiary designations clearly conflict with the will, trust, letter of last instructions, and last conversations.

Why? It is too easy to forget to update your beneficiary designations. It’s easy to download a beneficiary form from the bank website, sign, and return it. But, it’s very easy to forget to submit a change of beneficiary form when you make changes to your estate plan. For privacy reasons, the bank doesn’t list your beneficiaries when you get your statements. You have to remember to check if you’re not reminded on a regular basis.

During our annual reviews, we try our best to nudge our solo agers to keep their beneficiaries up to date (or remove them). My preference is to remove the beneficiary designations and let everything flow through the will.

What happens if there is not enough money in an estate?

What happens if there is not enough money in an estate?

Accounts with beneficiary designations are NOT part of the probate estate. This means that your Executor has no control over those funds. The money will go directly to your named beneficiary (who could be your girlfriend from decades ago that you forgot to remove…).

Too many accounts with named beneficiaries can result in a cash-poor estate. There are not enough funds to pay for estate expenses, court fees, appraisers, debts, or even for the heirs named in your will. Not having money to pay debts and creditors can cause more problems, because creditors may go after the heirs.

Even worse, there may not be any funds available to pay the beneficiaries named in your will, because the bank accounts went directly to the account beneficiaries. It will be sad for the heir in the will, since it wasn’t your intent to leave them with no inheritance.

Hard to know until probate has already begun

Hard to know until probate already begun

It creates an annoying catch-22. Meaning, banks/brokerages only reveal if there are named beneficiaries to the beneficiaries themselves or to a court-appointed executor. How do you know if probate is necessary if you don’t know whether there are any beneficiaries?

Your executor may waste time and money to set up probate, only to find out that there was no reason to probate because the accounts have named beneficiaries. It’s frustrating to tell the family that they paid us just to tell them that the account funds are going elsewhere.

Also, the banks do not reveal this information easily, even to the court-appointed executor. Sometimes executors still have to jump through hoops to get the banks to cooperate.

Solo Ager Book

Beneficiary designations seem great on paper, and I get it. But, time and again, we’ve seen how this does not end well in reality. Hopefully this prompts you to just take a look at all of your accounts sometime soon.

If you don’t have it already, click on the link to my book, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan,” for a free download.

Free copy of “The Solo Ager Estate Plan”

The Solo Ager Estate Plan Cover 3D

Complete this form to receive your complimentary copy of Anthony’s Amazon best-seller, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan

reCAPTCHA is required.
E309 Limited Powers of Attorney for Solo Agers

E309 Limited Powers of Attorney for Solo Agers


If you’re a solo ager and you must use a power of attorney (POA), make it as limited as possible.

We received the following from a solo ager listener: “You state in your book that a financial power of attorney is not necessary if there’s a solid living trust in place. (I don’t feel the risk of abuse is a critical concern in my case). However, my lawyer says I need to name one.”- Lori

This attorney refused to complete our listener’s estate plan unless she included a financial power of attorney.

Why I avoid POAs whenever possible

Why I avoid POAs whenever possible

Powers of attorney are very overpowered. It can be executed with just a simple notary with no witness requirements. But, for that basic execution, there is unlimited control over someone else’s finances, house, etc.

Powers of attorney are pretty unstructured. There are no guide rails in the law for how an agent under the POA is compensated or whether there should be an accounting proceeding.

Besides, if you have a revocable living trust, then you have most of the benefits of a power of attorney. You would only need a POA if you are traveling abroad or incapacitated. You’d need someone to manage the funds on your behalf so you don’t fall into arrears or foreclosure.

I don’t think the risk of having a financial power of attorney is worth covering those outlaying scenarios. If you ever read a standard power of attorney, you’ll see that the agent has the power to do almost anything with your finances and property.

A supreme example from the news headlines is of Brooke Astor, a famous New York philanthropist. Her son was able to siphon about $80 million from her estate with a simple POA, contrary to the rest of her estate plan.

You might read the scenario above and say, well, I’d only give power of attorney to someone I trust. We’ve seen people who used to be the most trusted candidates go astray. Money does interesting things to people. This fear should not keep you from creating an estate plan, but keep in mind that you should minimize the use of a POA.

Why would an estate planning lawyers insist you sign a POA

Why would an estate planning lawyers insist you sign a POA

The short answer is that I don’t know why anyone would be that stubborn to make their client do things their way. It’s like a doctor saying, “Get this surgery and you will be better. If you don’t listen to me, then I won’t be your doctor anymore.”  If they can’t explain their reasons to your satisfaction and still insist, consider changing lawyers.

Some attorneys have always done estate planning “packages”, and haven’t changed with the times. It might be hard to leave an attorney that you’ve been working with for a long time and who you are otherwise comfortable with. But, if you can’t get a decent answer to this pretty powerful question, it might be worth getting at least a second opinion.

Ways to limit a power of attorney

Ways to limit a power of attorney

If you feel that you need a power of attorney, then ask the attorney to make it a limited one. There are two main ways to limit a POA:

The first way is to get a springing POA instead of a general POA. A general POA is effective immediately upon signing. A springing POA is conditional; those powers only come into existence if certain conditions are met. Usually this means that you must be deemed incompetent by two physicians.

The second way to limit a POA is to only choose specific powers for the agent to have. You don’t want to check the box that says your agent under the POA has the power to gift all of your money. And you certainly don’t want to check the last box that says, “All of the above.” Carefully choose only the powers that are needed to accomplish your goals. If it’s not something you would do in your own capacity, don’t give someone else the power to do it!

Solo Ager

If you don’t already have my book, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan,” click the link below for a copy.

Free copy of “The Solo Ager Estate Plan”

The Solo Ager Estate Plan Cover 3D

Complete this form to receive your complimentary copy of Anthony’s Amazon best-seller, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan

reCAPTCHA is required.
E307 End of Life Decisions for Solo Agers

E307 End of Life Decisions for Solo Agers


How do you find a trustworthy fiduciary to make end of life decisions for you if you’re a solo ager? We get these questions often from our solo ager clients and followers:

“What provisions may be made if someone has no healthcare proxy?“

“When there is no one to take care of you as you age and you become ill, how can you ever find a fiduciary you can trust?”

We’ll review the problem, the lack of options, and if/when we’re able to help.

Solo agers’ problem

Solo agers’ problem

This end-of-life fiduciary problem is very similar to the executor problem, but more intimate.

Typically, solo agers do not have the traditional spouse or adult kids to fill the role. Some solo agers don’t want to burden (or are not comfortable asking) more distant relatives or friends to fill the role. An end-of-life fiduciary is not just a money or estate administration role, but rather extremely personal medical role. This means asking someone to make important end-of-life decisions for you and even be present at your death bed.

The bottom line is that you do NOT want a random court-appointed stranger to fill this role. A court-appointed fiduciary wouldn’t know you or your wishes at all.

Not many options

Not many options

With executors, you have the option of choosing professional executors , as well as banks, trust companies, and in some states, there are certified professional executors. There is a small, but developed industry around professional executorship. But there are far fewer options for someone to be your hired health care proxy/agent.

In the case where a health care agent is hired, it is usually an attorney. This isn’t always a great option either. One of our followers said that she talked to an attorney and didn’t feel comfortable with her because all she talked about was the hourly fee. The attorney quoted over $800.00 just to “sign her up.”

Another said that the attorney “refused to have an initial meeting with me because she’s a ‘busy person’ and I’d have to hire her before she’d see me.”

Obviously, an attorney won’t provide these services for free, but the attorneys can be more tactful about it. For example, when we are asked to serve as a professional executor, we meet with the person to make sure we are a good fit. It’s hard to imagine someone would want name a health care agent without meeting them first.

How (and when) we‘ll be your health care proxy

How (and when) we‘ll be your health care proxy

We do not accept this role capriciously. I won’t do it unless I am your nominated executor/trustee or otherwise known you for at least several years.

Again, I want to make sure we have a good working relationship. This includes annual calls and check-ins (which we have discussed in other episodes). I want to be sure that I have a directional sense of your personality and wishes before I commit to making medical decisions. When the end-of-life period comes, it is a stressful time both for the client and me. I need to feel confident I can faithfully carry out your wishes.

My book, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan,” can help you prepare for end-of-life decisions. Click the link below to receive a free copy.

As always, keep your questions coming!

Free copy of “The Solo Ager Estate Plan”

The Solo Ager Estate Plan Cover 3D

Complete this form to receive your complimentary copy of Anthony’s Amazon best-seller, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan

reCAPTCHA is required.