Does thinking about your original estate planning documents conjure up images of meeting in someone’s office a decade ago when you first got married or when you had a child? Or was it in the more recent past, but there are numerous changes you’ve undergone in your life and family since then? If either one of these situations describes you, it may be time for an estate planning audit.
Plenty of people fall victim to the myth that estate planning is a one-and-done scenario. They schedule a meeting with a lawyer, get the basic documents in line, store them safely, and then forget about it. Those initial steps to get your will, trusts, and powers of attorney documents in line are important nonetheless, but your estate planning can only work properly for you if it’s in line with your current needs, not your past ones.
One of the biggest benefits of setting up an estate planning audit with a Massachusetts lawyer is to learn whether or not all the tools and documents you have now carry out your wishes as they should. For example, if you have gotten divorced since your last meeting with an attorney, there’s a good chance your current documents award everything or give power to make decisions on your behalf to your former spouse. These documents may remain legally valid even with a divorce decree. It is your responsibility to change them at the appropriate time.
It’s easy to write off an estate planning audit as something you intend to get around to. The truth is that most people don’t anticipate a disabling life event that triggers a power of attorney. Even more people don’t want to think about their own mortality, making it easier to push estate planning to the back burner.
Passing away with inaccurate materials, however, can be even more troubling for your loved ones in the wake of coping with their grief over your loss. You can help to avoid this situation by setting up a meeting with an experienced Massachusetts estate planning lawyer today.