For those in Michigan with little experience in matters of estate planning, the terminology associated with it may be intimidating enough to repel some from investigating the benefits. Nevertheless, because planning one’s estate is important, it is worth gaining an understanding of some of the most common terms involved. For example, a fiduciary is someone entrusted with interests of another person, such as someone’s stockbroker or attorney. In estate planning, there may be numerous fiduciaries.

Perhaps the most familiar fiduciary is the estate executor, sometimes referred to as the personal representative. This is the person appointed to see the estate through probate, following the instructions a testator leaves in a will. If someone isn’t specifically named by the deceased, the court appoints a person for these duties. An estate that involves trusts will likely have successor trustees to manage the trusts after the primary trustee dies or becomes incapacitated.

Many people include in their estate plans the name of someone who will act as a health care surrogate, making medical choices that may include end-of-life decisions. Often these choices are based on an advance medical directive, which the testator may include in an estate plan. A testator who has minor children is wise to appoint a fiduciary called a guardian to care for the children in the event of the testator’s untimely death.

Having a thorough understanding of estate planning may seem overwhelming. This is why many people in Michigan take advantage of the experience of an estate planning attorney. Seeking the assistance of such an attorney means having an advocate to answer one’s questions and provide sound advice.

Source: thebalance.com, “Fiduciaries and Their Role in Your Estate“, Julie Garber, Accessed on Dec. 16, 2017