Acting on Your Own Behalf

Think of Sovereignty as Individual Agency. From Wikipedia – Individual agency is when a person acts on his/her own behalf. Each of us is our own Decision Maker, and every contract, every choice, is an exercise of our personal power. If we don’t plan ahead, in writing, we can unknowingly give away every bit of our power. A good estate plan lays out our wishes, and designates a chosen person to carry out those wishes.

Each of us is sovereign, with rights and obligations. This concept is so important, and no matter who you select to serve you when the time comes, you are trusting that person with “everything”. Think about your own “agency”, your own personal power to decide any question about tax, legal, financial, social, or medical matters. Do you make these decisions with a partner or spouse? Is there anyone you trust that much as to let them decide, without consulting you?

What do you expect for your own time of vulnerability? Fewer than 1/3 of Americans have a written estate plan, and many people are shocked when they are no longer able to do the things they have always done. Waiting for a crisis is poor strategy. We are all better off planning for vulnerability, such as incapacity or physical inability, rather than ignore the fact it could happen to any of us, at any time. The power of your estate plan is based on the expression of your preferences (because we can’t predict the future), and granting authority to someone to uphold those preferences for you, when you can no longer do so yourself. Learn more by reading Ethics for Trustees 2.0

Marguerite Lorenz, CTFA, CLPF is a Master Trustee and a Managing Partner at Lorenz Private Trustees ( and has served as a Trustee and Executor since 2003.

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