Unfortunately, experienced estate planning attorneys say there’s a high percentage of clients who have recurring mistakes in their strategy. If you haven’t had your plan updated in the last three years or if you’ve never visited with an estate planning attorney, you might not even have a will. If you do have a will, it is highly likely that the will does not fully protect you as you intended that it might.
Relying on a will alone is not enough. A complete estate plan must include numerous different documents that address your concerns prior to you passing away, such as an advanced medical directive and a power of attorney. These documents can enable one or more agents to make decisions and take particular actions associated with your assets or medical care when you are no longer able to do so. Unfortunately, when many people skip out on this process, the actions are only taken after a court appoints a guardian to act on your behalf and it could be someone that you didn’t intend to serve in this role.
Some people believe that there’s no rush to execute these critical estate planning documents but that is a myth. A sudden event such as a stroke or a heart attack could cause someone to need a power of attorney document and advance medical directive. Once an event like this happens, it is too late to put together the necessary documentation for legal purposes. This is why it is recommended to have it well in advance, even before you think you need it with a MA estate planning attorney.