It is not an uncommon occurrence for our clients to look through their ‘team’, i.e. the people responsible for different aspects of their estate plan - health care proxy, guardians, powers of attorney, etc. - and say, “Why in the world is person A or person B responsible for this?”. Given any moment in time, one might pick entirely different people depending on numerous factors: age, life stage, relationship, etc. Choosing your team of people is an important task, that can seem daunting. I remember picking my own team for my estate plan. If I could have, I would have picked my husband for most things - but if we were both gone? Would I pick my father to be my health care proxy because he’s a medical professional? Or would I choose my brother because he would understand my wishes to a greater extent?
It’s no small task, and many people ask themselves, why in the world did I pick that person? Or it may simply be a case of, “Well, we did pick my sister to be a guardian to our children, but now she lives on the other side of the country!” Whether it is because of a changed relationship or changed circumstances - both for you or for the person themselves - it is important to re assess who’s on your team with some regularity.
In our experience, if someone has an existing estate plan at all, it is unfortunately all too common that it is very out of date. When asking my own parents about their estate plan, they still have it written that I would be under the guardianship of my Aunt, which I sincerely hope would not be the case, as I am well into adulthood! Having an outdated team helps no one, and significantly weakens the strength of your estate plan. You can have all of the most intricate wills and trusts, and your assets can all be aligned, but without a great team of people to run your plan - it can easily diminish a lot of the effort you’ve already put in.
At Family Estate Planning Law Group, we give our clients a chance to make important updates like this, as regularly as possible. With our unique, ongoing client care program, all our clients are encouraged to come in and review their plan as necessary. Meeting to review your plan and make sure everything would be perfect and ready to go today, not yesterday, is built into your package.
-By Rachel Hicks