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Accounting for the human side of estate planning

Louisiana residents have the ability to appoint other people to act on their behalf in certain situations. For instance, an individual or entity may act as a financial or health care proxy while a person is alive. An executor is the person who is responsible for overseeing an estate's affairs after a person dies. Financial account designees may have the power to make decisions on a person's behalf.

These and other appointments may determine how well an estate plan is carried out. If the wrong people are put in place, it could result in family drama or a lack of financial security for future generations. Ideally, those who are named to a given position will have responsibilities that are distinct from others who are helping to oversee a person's affairs.

This can eliminate confusion and eliminate the odds that people who don't communicate well or get along have to work together. It is also a good idea to consult with a person before naming him or her to a role such as trustee or executor of an estate. Doing so allows both parties to determine if the arrangement will work. It is an unfortunate reality that some people have problems managing their own lives without the added pressure of making decisions for someone else.

During the estate planning process, a person may benefit from taking time to identify the people best suited to serve as his or her surrogates. In some cases, a role may be filled by a friend or family member. However, an attorney may serve as a trustee or executor if necessary or appropriate.

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