I recorded this BLOG post after a pretty tough morning resolving some estate planning issues which could have been avoided if:

1. the clients and family knew where the original estate planning documents were stored
2. copies of the documents were available so we knew what they said
3. the clients had reviewed their documents regularly to ensure the documents were still appropriate

Getting a comprehensive estate plan in place is a fantastic start but it can’t be the end of the story. It’s absolutely critical that the key people nominated in the estate plan know how to access copies and originals of the documents so that they can take the quick decisive action when needed. It only takes a few minutes to complete an estate planning health check every year.

If you want to find out more about what you need to consider when reviewing your estate planning, check out my post – When Should you Review your Estate Plan?

Video Transcript

Hi. It’s Tara here. Now I’ve just had a pretty hectic morning at a hospital helping a client who urgently needed an estate planning update and there were some really key reminders about estate planning that came out of that whole experience and I wanted to make sure I share it with all of you.

So the first one is that estate planning is so much more than just getting your will made. In this situation, the clients actually had wills and powers of attorney that they have made with the public trustee in Queensland but they made it eight years ago. They don’t have copies anywhere, the public trustees are giving us the runaround for us to be able to get copies and access to the originals. They urgently need their powers of attorney in place because both clients are in a hospital for different reasons and we don’t know what their documents say. We have a hunch that the documents appoint each other and then the public trustee, an officer public guardian, as the backups and the clients don’t want their backup to be their public trustee. They actually want their adult son to be the backup, executor attorney and medical attorney so that he can take care of everything because he’s up here actually taking care of it all.

So I just want to remind her, even when you make your estate planning documents make sure that people have copies, that your advisers, your financial advisers have copies and that your executors and your attorneys have copies and know what they say.

And secondly, I think the main reminder is that you need to review your estate planning documents regularly at least once a year. You shouldn’t just set and forget because circumstances change and you may need to keep them updated. Now we’re raising the clock to try to get the documents updated to a point who they want to appoint as their backup and with facing capacity issues and failing health and it’s all so much more difficult that it needs to be and it’s a difficult situation but I want you to make sure that we capitalize on these reminders so that it doesn’t happen to your clients.

Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

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