When people engage in estate planning, they often have to choose agents to act in their interest in certain situations. For example, they may have to name agents to act as executors of their estate or trustees or grant an agent power of attorney. In some instances, though, people do not have appropriate choices to act as their agent or fiduciary. In such cases, their attorney may be able to act as a fiduciary to ensure their planning goals are upheld, and their estate is appropriately administered. At Wilson & Wilson Estate Planning & Elder Law LLC, our experienced LaGrange estate planning lawyers proudly offer our clients fiduciary services, and if you hire us, we will help you to devise an estate plan that meets your needs. We regularly help people with estate planning issues in LaGrange and other cities throughout Illinois.Fiduciary Services We Offer
In regard to estate planning, a fiduciary is an agent that acts on behalf of the principal to carry out the principal's behalf. This can include acting as an executor of an estate, making financial or health care decisions via power of attorney, and acting as a trustee or guardian. In most instances, people engaging in estate planning will ask someone with whom they have an established relationship to act as their fiduciary. People should not be apprehensive about developing an estate plan simply because they do not have appropriate people to designate as agents; however, as in most instances, an attorney can offer their client's fiduciary services.
An attorney acting as a fiduciary for their client has an obligation to act in good faith and make decisions in their client's best interests, which means, in part, that they must act without self-interest and must use their diligence, skill, and care in carrying out their duties.
An attorney named as the executor of their client's estate will oversee the estate's probate and administration. This means, in part, that after their client's passing, they must file the client's will with the appropriate probate court, locate, collect, and appraise their client's assets and determine and settle debts against the estate. They must also find any heirs or beneficiaries, pay any required taxes, and prepare a detailed account for the court. As a trustee, an attorney must manage the trust in accordance with the terms established by the grantor, which includes managing investments, making distributions, and collecting interest and dividends.
If a client grants their attorney power of attorney, they are essentially asking them to make health care or financial decisions on their behalf. An attorney-agent granted power of attorney may have specific or general powers. In other words, if they are granted general power of attorney, they have the right to control all aspects of a person's finances or health care. If they have specific power of attorney, their authority to make decisions on their client's behalf will be limited to isolated issues. Power of attorney may be durable, meaning it lasts from the time the client executes the document granting their attorney power of attorney until the client's death or may be springing, meaning they only go into effect in the event the client becomes incapacitated
Finally, an attorney granted guardianship rights has the right to make decisions on behalf of another individual, typically a minor or someone with a disability. Guardianship may be granted over a person, meaning the guardian has the authority to make personal decisions for the ward, or over an estate, meaning the attorney has the authority to handle the ward's financial affairs.Talk to a Trusted LaGrange Estate Planning Attorney About Your Needs
People typically name family members or close friends as executors of their estate or trustees, or grant them power of attorney or guardianship rights, but if they do not have anyone suitable to fulfill such roles, they may ask their attorney to act as their fiduciary. The trusted LaGrange attorneys of Wilson & Wilson Estate Planning & Elder Law LLC, can help you with your estate planning needs, including offering you fiduciary services. We frequently assist parties with their estate planning needs in Cook County, including Chicago, Arlington Heights, Cicero, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Schaumburg, Evanston, Skokie, and Tinley Park, DuPage County, including Naperville, Aurora, and Wheaton, and Lake County including Buffalo Grove, Mundelein, Highland Park, and Waukegan. Our main office is in LaGrange, and we have a second office in Northbrook. You can reach us through our online form or at our LaGrange office at 708-482-7090 or our Northbrook Office at 847-656-8958 to set up a conference.