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Farm Estate and Succession Planning

RSS By: Andrew Zenk

This blog focuses on making complex and difficult topics in estate and business planning understandable and applicable to the reader.

Andy is an Agribusiness Consultant for AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Fargo N.D., a farmer owned cooperative and part of the Farm Credit System serving eastern North Dakota and northwest and west central Minnesota.

Estate Planning - Picking "People with Responsibilities"

Oct 19, 2011

 

Fiduciaries – People with Responsibilities
 
Another area to think about is who you will name as “fiduciaries” or “people with responsibilities” in your plan. Husband and wives are usually each other’s initial fiduciary, acting on each other’s behalf, should something happen. However, you will also have to have backups / successors for each respective position in your plans. 
 
The responsibilities of a fiduciary in an estate plan are generally quite involved. In appointing a personal representative or a trustee, you should evaluate if your candidate’s personality and lifestyle fit with the duties and responsibilities of being a fiduciary. Specifically, you should consider:
 
-          Is the person detail oriented and organized?
 
-          Will their career or lifestyle afford them the time to devote to the responsibilities of being a fiduciary?
 
-          Can they be sensitive and unbiased when decisions must be made?
 
-          Does the person have the investment expertise to manage the trust assets?
 
The Personal Representative (“PR”) is a fiduciary of the Estate whose main duty is to carry out the wishes and terms of the decedent’s will. The PR has many legal responsibilities in their work as a fiduciary. They include (not an exhaustive list): 
 
-          Gathering all of the property owned by the decedent.
 
-          Gathering and paying all just legal debts of the decedent.
 
-          Paying any taxes owed (if applicable).
 
-          Managing the Estate's Assets.
 
The other “Fiduciaries” to name are health care agents for your health care directive and also financial agents for your financial power of attorney. These are documents that are applicable in life, if you are unable to make your own decisions on health and financial concerns. The same list above should be considered.

 

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication provides a general overview on various topics and is strictly for informational purposes only. The reader should consult a qualified professional for advice based on his/her specific circumstances. AgCountry Farm Credit Services and the writer of this blog make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site, and shall not be liable for any errors or omissions herein or for any losses or damages resulting from the display or use of this information. 
 
Required Disclosure Pursuant to IRS Circular 230: Pursuant to requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.
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