Estate Planning Attorneys – Discouraging Disengagement
In previous articles, I shared insights from James Brill’s excellent article, “Discouraging Disengagement.” Estate planning is fluid because time and circumstances alter plans. In the first article, I examined how Death, Disability, and Decline greatly impact our estate plan. In the second, I looked at Disaffection, Disappearance, and Domestication as events triggering changes to your estate plan. In part III, I discussed Death Taxes, Designations, and Distrust.
Today, in Part IV, I look at four topics that may impact your plan: Domestic Partners, Disasters, Distance, and Doing it Yourself. As I approach “Old Lawyer” status, I become more and more convinced that couples should either be married or not married. While I will not discuss the moral, ethical, religious, or psychological aspects of marriage, the legal challenges of domestic “arrangements” are numerous. Suffice to say, when the intention to be married, or the intention not to be married, is undocumented, it creates a mess, not only with respect to the expectations and understandings of the couple, but also in terms of financial and government entities being able to address estate matters.
Disasters and Distance can both ruin a plan. A photocopy of your original documents is not the same as the originals. Fires, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes can all destroy your estate plan. (See references in ancient texts to treasures and their vulnerability to rust, dust, and thieves.)
Additionally, if you have left specific bequests and thought you were being equitable, the destruction of certain assets will likely render your disposition of assets inequitable. Wise counsel will steer you away from such a vulnerable plan. Distance can hinder a fiduciary from serving in that capacity. The son that was such a sound choice as agent for your power of attorney when he lived down the street is a less wise choice now that he lives and works in New Zealand.
Contact Bailey & Galyen’s Estate Planning Attorneys
Lastly, DON’T DO IT YOURSELF! Doing it yourself may be the best way to ruin your estate plan and burden your loved ones with added complexity after you’re gone. Contact our committed estate planning attorneys via email or call us direct at 844-402-2992 to schedule your free consultation.