No. of Recommendations: 1
A few years ago I attended an estate-planning seminar where the speaker said, "If you are naming someone as a guardian, trustee, personal representative, power of attorney, beneficiary; TELL THEM!!! Don't put your friends', children's, spouse's, names on any of your documents without their knowledge and consent! Trust me, people do NOT want to be surprised later on. Get their permission first. And after the documents are prepared, send them a copy."

I agree that you need to tell someone if they are named as a guardian, trustee, executor/personal representative, or power of attorney. I also agree that those folks should have a copy of the paperwork. I do not agree that this applies to the beneficiaries for whom anything they inherit is a gift, and who might change over the years.

Conversely, when my father was preparing his documents, I informed him that I would request (from his lawyer) a copy of anything that had my name in it.

That's nice, but his lawyer does not have any particular duty to actually provide such documents to you. In fact, if he does that without your father's permission, he has just violated attorney-client privilege. Just because you are named in a document does not give you the right to get a copy of that document. Now, that changes when someone dies and the will is probated because that is a public document, but until then, you have no right to see those documents.

I was able to say, "Dad, DH & I just had our wills re-done, and I'm thinking that since Mom's been gone a year now, it might be time to update yours. So I made an appointment for you with Mr. X, an attorney who specializes in estate planning, for <date, time>. I'll pick you up at <time>, and we can go out to lunch afterwards. If that date's not convenient, please let me know and I'll have it re-scheduled, or you can call yourself. His contact info is:..."

I'm glad that he did this, but it is also possible that he didn't need to do this. If his will had been redone just before your mom passed away, then I would expect it to not need to be changed. I'd expect that he would have accounted for that contingency in his will, and it could have been perfectly fine and current.

During the meeting, I stayed in the waiting room. I didn't want to tell my father what to do, or get into his business.

That's good, because unless he asked you to go into the office with him, you didn't have a right to be there while he was making all his plans. In fact, if you have siblings and you were there and got a bigger share than they did under his will, they could reasonably argue that you were exerting undue influence on him.

FIL redid his documents about 2 weeks before he ended up in a nursing home. It was pure coincidence, but DH happened to be visiting his dad when the attorney called, and was able to take FIL to the attorney right then. The attorney had DH wait outside so that he could do all the paperwork and ensure that FIL was doing what FIL wanted done and not what DH wanted done.

We were ever so thankful to have had that paperwork updated because it turned out that DH needed the HCP and POA almost immediately.

But the attorney took steps to make sure that what he was doing was what FIL wanted to be doing.
Print the post  

Announcements

When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.