By Marc S. Galella, Esq.
With the coronavirus in the headlines today, a lot of clients are asking whether they need to update their Estate Planning documents which include Last Wills and Testaments, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills. In general, Estate Planning documents do not have to be revised because of age. Rather, they need to be revised when they no longer do what you need them to do. As important as it is to have these Estate Planning documents, it is equally important to keep them up to date.
For example, are the persons who you named to inherit under you will still the persons that you want to inherit? Do you still want all of your children to inherit equally if you made gifts to one of your children during your lifetime? Did you provide for a trust for the benefit of your then minor children and they are now all over the age of 18 years? Do the persons that you named in your Will as the Executor still have the ability to perform the tasks associated with being an Executor? Do you have grandchildren that you want to name in your Will? If those grandchildren are under the age of 18 years, do you want their inheritance held by another person until they reach the age of 18, or maybe even older? Do you have a beneficiary who is receiving government assistance that would be disqualified by receiving an inheritance from you?
Do you have a Power of Attorney? If so, do the persons named in the Power of Attorney still have the capability to perform the functions as your Attorney in Fact? Does your Power of Attorney list alternates in case the persons you named to act for you are not capable of acting on your behalf?
If you have a Living Will, have you looked at it recently to make sure the decisions you previously made as to life sustaining treatment are still what you want now. Has there been any change in your medical condition that is different now as opposed to when you made you Living Will? Are the persons you named in your Living Will as your Health Care Representatives still the persons that you want? Are they capability of acting in that capacity?
We normally suggest that you take out your Estate Planning documents once a year and read them over to make sure that those documents still do what you remember that they did and what you need them to do now. However, in this time of medical concerns, it is a good idea to review your documents now to make sure you are protected in the event that you should become ill. We further suggest that you read your Estate Planning documents whenever there is a major event in your life such as a birth, death, divorce, change in financial status (you or your beneficiaries) or a change in mental capacity.
The attorneys of R.C. Shea and Associates have over 100 years of combined experience in reviewing and preparing Estate Planning documents. Please call us to go over your Estate Planning needs.