Catch of the Day: How We Catch Estate Planning Implementation Mistakes
Addressing a Common Misconception
At FPH, we provide all clients with a cloud-based platform (eMoney) that enables them to easily organize, centralize, monitor, and maintain all aspects of their financial lives. Included in this platform is a document storage vault that is a critical tool for helping us address important non-investment planning issues. Estate planning is one of these issues, and we urge all clients to provide us with copies of their estate planning documents to review and upload.
Recently, a client provided us with a PDF copy of their durable powers of attorney and wills for uploading to the Estate Planning folder in their eMoney vault. In reviewing the documents, I discovered that the documents were not signed and that there was a note indicating that the signed copies were held at the attorney's office. As it turned out, the attorney had retired and the firm that had taken over his clients could not locate the signed documents.
This "catch" serves to illustrate a common misperception that the act of drafting one's documents completes the estate planning process. Drafting the documents is merely the first step. Failing to properly implement the documents can render them worthless. Providing the documents to us for review enables us to catch mistakes and oversights and the eMoney Vault makes it easy to maintain and update these documents over time so that they are ready and available for implementation when needed.
Note: While FPH does not provide specific tax or legal advice, our financial planning role in the implementation process is to raise awareness of potential mistakes and/or oversights that may then be taken up with one's estate planning attorney or CPA.