As we move toward the end of the year and we see spikes in Covid infections, one thought jumps to the forefront. In talking with estate planning attorney’s over the past 9 months, many of them have been busier than they ever have in their careers. Why is that? Is it that many people have suddenly been faced with their own mortality and have new motivation to ensure their house is in order? That is the consensus from the attorneys I have talked with. What about your house? Have you been putting off creating your estate plan? Do you have one but haven’t reviewed it to see if it still matches your intentions? What about your financial and medical powers of attorney, do they need updating? Have you reviewed your beneficiary designations on your life insurance, IRA’s, and employer sponsored plans?
I have seen more than once the chaos created when these items are not current. A few years back I was referred to a new client who was trustee of their sister’s living trust. In reviewing the accounts, it was discovered the trust account had been disinherited by a recent transaction and assets would not be paid out as the sister had intended. Fortunately, we were able to correct the issue just prior to the sister passing away. Afterward, the client discovered a number of other investments and accounts they had not known of and had never been titled to the trust. It took us almost year to identify all the accounts, change registrations to the trust, and properly distribute the proceeds as the sister had intended. The situation could have been avoided with regular reviews of the accounts and estate plans. This is just one example of what can go wrong if regular reviews are not accomplished, your plans may differ and have other issues or outcomes not noted here. Don’t put off reviewing or creating your plans. Do you have questions or need a referral to an attorney to discuss your concerns? Give me a call.