As we discussed in a previous article, several years ago, James Brill authored a piece entitled, “Discouraging Disengagement” for the Texas Bar Journal and shared some important reminders for all of us who plan for the future. Disaffection, disappearance and domestication are all threats to your current estate plan and the fulfillment of your wishes.
Disaffection occurs in most relationships over time. In a long-term relationship, affection can ebb and flow. Ups and downs don’t require any change in the estate plan, but if you no longer want to provide benefits to someone or trust that person to serve as a fiduciary or agent under a power of attorney, you better make a change.
Brill says disappearance is, “Disaffection on steroids.” If you lose touch with someone or they can’t be located, they need to be replaced. The frustration of trying to find people who have gone missing is immense. Even your most trusted fiduciaries may have to abandon the project of administering your estate if key players can’t be located.
We will include divorce in our brief discussion of domestication. Any change in marital status involves more than changing your status on social media. The law attempts to remedy some of the dangers involved in a change in marital status, but, in over thirty years of practice, I have seen the disastrous unintended consequences of an estate plan left in place following the marriage or divorce of the testator.
Contact Mr. Bailey for your initial planning or for a check up on what you have in place, and don’t disengage from this important aspect of planning for the future.