What is a Fiduciary, Executor, Trustee, Attorney-in-Fact and Guardian?

“I get by with a little help from my friends.”
....  – Paul McCartney & John Lennon.

In estate planning, a Fiduciary is any person, or entity, who replaces you in decision-making. In your Estate Plan, you will specifically appoint or nominate another person or entity to take control or responsibility over your estate, over your minor children, over your health care, and other circumstances. These people or entities are your fiduciaries. Your fiduciaries serve as Personal Representatives, Trustees, Attorney-in-Fact, and Guardians. If you don’t choose your own fiduciaries, then fiduciaries will be appointed for you. Maybe they will be the ones you would have selected. Maybe not.

A Personal Representative, also known as Executor, admits your will

to probate and administers your estate through the probate process.

A Trustee manages the assets in your trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries.

An Attorney-in-Fact acts as your agent to carry out general financial matters (General Durable Power of Attorney) or health care decision (Health Care Power of Attorney), or for specific narrow transactions (Special Power of Attorney).

A Guardian acts as a quasi-parent for your minor child until the child reaches the age of majority. In Ohio
the age of majority is 18.

When selecting your fiduciaries, you must first determine whether the person has the character attributes, ability, and willingness to faithfully exercise the high standard of care

required to make decisions for you. You also must determine:

  • If you want one agent or multiple agents for each position
  • If you would like multiple agents to act together or separately
  • How to monitor and compensate the fiduciary
  • When the fiduciary relationship begins and how it ends,
  • How to modify or revoke the fiduciary relationship and how to replace the fiduciary.

Choosing the people or entities to serve as your fiduciaries requires thoughtful consideration.

Schedule a meeting with Ison Law, we are here to assist your further understanding of these important roles and how best to fill them.

ISON LAW • 10348 Sawmill Road, Powell, Ohio 43065 • (614) 336-3083 • isonlaw.com