The late Riley B. King, who many of us know by his stage name of B.B. King, kept us entertained during his singing years with his legendary blues music. His story is still keeping fans interested, but unfortunately for different reasons in the weeks after his passing. Several of B.B. King’s heirs are pursuing legal action against his longtime business manager with accusations of not letting his children see him prior to his death, improper medical care, and even poisoning their father.
B.B. King did plan ahead by executing a Last Will and Testament and other estate planning documents. Insodoing, he made the decision to name his business manager as the representative for his estate affairs and likely considered many aspects to ensure it was someone he felt would be the best for his situation.
When deciding who is the right fit to manage your estate, there are various points to consider. First, it is important to examine the type of document you are signing and who would be the best to exercise control and authority for that planning vehicle. For example, factors such as age, location, financial resources and health conditions may all play a role in your decision. If you need to decide between one of your children, perhaps one child is better suited to make medical decisions because of their background or because they are better equipped to handle the stress of a delicate medical procedure. And your other child may be more knowledgeable of your assets and has a proven track record of fiscal responsibility.
Second, you may want to consider the individual’s relationships with the family members that will be involved at the time of a crisis, or those named as beneficiaries of your assets. Dealing with emergent circumstances can bring out emotions that we do not anticipate and having someone that will likely remained balanced and even-keeled would usually be a smart selection to assist with family dynamics. Also, estate administration can take months, or sometimes even years, before distribution occurs. King’s estate has an estimated value of five to ten million dollars, plus additional royalties to flow into it for decades. During this time, the executor or trustee will need to manage the deceased’s assets, maximize the value of such assets, field inquiries from the beneficiaries, and other responsibilities, all while handling their own personal affairs.
Finally, it is important to select an alternative to serve as executor, or in your other fiduciary positions depending on your planning. When it comes time to serve, your first choice may be unavailable to do so, may not want to act, or not able to act due to incapacity. Instead of a court making this decision, consider what is important to you to select an alternative and know that a professional may be hired to assist if necessary.
When contemplating these difficult decisions and attempting to choose the right person or entity, understand there is no perfect process or simple rule to follow as it is different for everyone. But when you do choose, find comfort knowing that even though you may not be a celebrity like B.B. King, you have carefully selected a fiduciary to honor your iconic legacy.
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