Is it time to update your substitute decision-makers?

| Mar 9, 2021 | Estate Planning, Guardianships

Giving someone the authority to make financial or personal decisions on your behalf is not a decision people make lightly. People typically want to feel confident that they appoint someone qualified, trustworthy and responsible. Once they name their substitute decision-makers, people can feel a sense of relief and protection.

However, things can change over time, including the relationship with the appointed parties. And events may transpire that cause a person to re-think who they have making decisions for them in the event of incapacity or death. Thus, it can be wise to update or revise your decision-makers in the following situations:

  • After a fallout that leads to estrangement
  • Reconciliation with a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Remarriage
  • Death of a loved one
  • Substance abuse or addiction compromising a person’s judgment
  • Medical events that adversely affect the physical or mental capabilities of the appointed party
  • Growing apart

Under these circumstances, the person you appointed to make decisions on your behalf may no longer be the person best suited for the job.

You might instead have someone closer to you that you trust more with these responsibilities. You might also choose to appoint a professional fiduciary or legal representative to act on your behalf. This can be an option for people who feel there is no one close to them who can make decisions for them.

Whoever you decide to appoint as a special administrator, power of attorney, executor or guardian should be an individual you believe will act in your best interests and carry out the duties responsibly. If you change your mind after the events we discussed above or other scenarios, you can revise your estate planning documents to ensure they continue to meet your needs and reflect your best wishes.

While you may never need someone to step in and manage your finances or make health-related decisions for you, knowing that there is a person you trust and have a positive relationship ready to step in can be very reassuring.