Catch of the Day: Estate Planning

John Robinson |

Estate planning document prep cost: $2,000

Value of EP docs if no one knows they exist: $0

In our introductory meeting, a new client suggested that she did not need any estate planning guidance because she had just drafted her documents a couple of years ago. When pressed as to what she did with the documents after receiving them from the attorney’s office, she said she put them in her safe deposit box.

The people she had named in her advance health care directive (AHCD) and durable power of attorney (DPoA) had not been given copies of the documents and were not even aware that they had been assigned to those roles. Additionally, the attorney had drafted a revocable living trust, but our client was unaware that the trust serves no purpose unless and until she actually registers assets in the name of the trust. In short, absent proper implementation, the documents were effectively worthless.

To remedy the problem, we contacted the attorney to have him provide PDF copies of the docs. We uploaded the documents to eMoney, began working with the attorney to determine which assets should be registered in the trust, and made the trust the beneficiary of a couple of life insurance policies. We provided copies of the AHCD and DPoA to the respective alternate agents and attorney’s in fact, and gave a copy of the trust to the person named as successor trustee.

We also made these people aware that we maintain copies in eMoney, in the event that they should misplace the documents (this happens frequently). Lastly, we had our client obtain AHCDs for her two adult, unmarried children. Since she is named as the primary agent for health care for each child, we have included her copies in her estate planning folder in eMoney as well.

Value of EP docs if implemented properly: Priceless