Choosing the right fiduciary – the executor of your estate, the trustee of a trust, a financial power of attorney – makes a huge difference in how efficiently, or not, your estate or trust is administered, or how your property is handled in case of your incapacity.
Most people tend to choose a child or other relative to fill this role, since it obviously needs to be someone you can trust unconditionally to carry out your wishes. However, this can create problems if you have more than one child since:
The person in power should be fair, smart about contracts and law, healthy, and available.
It can be extremely difficult for children to be objective.
It is not unusual for children to disagree over how things should be handled, no matter whom you have designated to do it.
Oftentimes children have a hard time communicating with each other, especially if they live far apart and/or were never that close growing up.
One alternative is to hire a professional fiduciary, which can be a CPA, a trust company or the trust department of a bank. An estate planner can help you find a professional fiduciary as part of the process of creating your estate plan. While a professional fiduciary will cost a fee, this may be money well spent since they are usually more skilled in managing assets, which will contribute to the growth of your estate.
You can include a provision that the professional fiduciary can be discharged if family members do not feel he or she is doing a good job. This allows your family to ensure the estate is being handled properly without actually having to do it themselves.