When You Don't Know Who To Trust

You know you need an executor. You know you need someone for your power of attorney. You know you need a trustee. But what if it's not so easy to decide who to choose?

As the attorney it's easy for me to tell you how important it is for you to have these positions set in your documents, but it's often not an easy decision.

Because the truth is relationships change. The family member who is so dedicated today can steal from his parents tomorrow. The health care worker you hired for your family member can also be the one who knows where your most precious objects are hidden.

But we HAVE to trust people. We need others when we can't help ourselves. If there's one thing this pandemic has taught us, is that being alone all the time is not fun and we have to let people in to help us.

The question remains - who can you trust for your documents when you don't know who to trust. Here are some people to consider:

1. Family: The first place to start is in your family. And not just your family but your extended family. Do you have a nephew who is responsible? Do you have a cousin you trust who is organized?

2. Friends: Do you have any friends you can trust? Perhaps you have a friend from a long time ago who would be willing to serve as your executor after you pass? She will be paid for the work she does for your estate.

3. Trusted Advisors: Do you know any financial advisors or CPAs or attorneys who might be able to help? Even if they have no expertise in estate planning they still might know people who can help them manage your estate or at least have the proper skills to know where to look.

4. Trust Companies: If you need a fiduciary, there are plenty of trust companies out there who would love to help. Often the fees can be high, and so make sure you know what you're getting into when you hire them.

5. Private Companies: There are some private companies that are willing to help but who charge much less than Trust Companies in fees. I can personally think of a few if you are looking for names. But if you spend the time doing the research and interviewing the heads of those companies you might find people who can help you.

Pro Tip: Make sure that you talk to the people you put in your documents before you appoint them. You want them to be prepared for the roles you have in store for them, and the more they know beforehand the more prepared they will be when their number is called.

Finding someone to trust is not easy. I completely understand. But remember, "done" is better than "perfect" and it's more important for you to appoint someone you aren't 100% sure about then not appoint someone at all. Either way - you got this!

Related: The Dubious Honor of Serving as Executor