Sunday, July 15, 2012
The summer months bring family vacations and trips, and with it comes planning for these vacations. The question that probably seldom arises is whether a person has updated their estate planning documents before taking that vacation. What is common are the concerns about safety and a person's affairs should something happen to that person during that trip. The failure to create estate planning documents while simultaneously being afraid to get ones affairs in order are common, and is likely the result of procrastination and apprehension of death. To solve this problem, a person might want to consider making their estate planning documents when times are good and there is no rush to make those important documents. Now, what a person needs depends upon the individual person. Some people will probably not need much estate planning work, while others might need a good amount of estate planning work.
A person might want to consider making a holographic will or a hand-written will if they are in an emergency and need to get their wishes written on paper. However, it is important to remember while self-made holographic wills are convenient, they are not as useful or reliable as attorney drafted wills. If a person does need to write a holographic will, a person might want to remember that holographic wills require all of the same requirements that it takes to make an attorney drafted will. However, a holographic will does not have to be attested, meaning that the person making the will does not have to get two witnesses to view the signing of the will. The person drafting the will might want to consider naming an executor or executrix of the estate, and might want to ensure that an executor or administration is named on all of his or her beneficiary designation forms, such as an insurance policy. The person might also want to make sure that there power of attorney form and health care proxy form are completed and updated.
Finally, a person might want to keep all of their legal documents in a secure place, in which the executor can easily access.
See Dennis A. Fordham, Estate Planning: Did You Plan Your Vacation Better Than Your Estate?, Lake Country News, July 14, 2012.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.