It is common practice in estate planning for a person to name their adult children as their fiduciaries. Whether that be as an agent or co-agent, to make health care or financial decisions while the person is still living, or as an executor or co-executor, or trustee or co-trustee, to make decisions upon the person’s death – naming children in fiduciary roles can, and often does, create friction among siblings.
When naming children in fiduciary roles, in particular when there are siblings, it is important to ensure there is always a final decision maker, so that in the event your children do not agree, someone has the authority to make a final decision. For example, when there are two adult children named as co-fiduciaries, if those two children do not agree on a decision that needs to be made, then who ultimately gets to decide? The answer is neither of them, which is an issue an estate planning attorney should address at the time your estate planning documents are being prepared. It is imperative that a person with children who do not get along, and even with children who do get along, address this issue ahead of time. Doing so may help prevent fighting among siblings, important decisions being left in limbo, and a long, drawn out estate administration process.
We have addressed this issue on both sides. We have worked with fighting siblings to assist them in working together to come to an agreement on important decisions that needed to be made, and we have worked with parents who are concerned about their children fighting, and helped them address this concern as part of their estate planning documents. Contact the attorneys at Thomas Law Group to discuss questions, concerns, and solutions related to naming adult children as fiduciaries or co-fiduciaries, or how best to assist the siblings in working through their disagreements.