Common Estate Planning Mistake #4: Assuming that you can always change things later

What is good for us today may not be good for us years down the road. So, it’s important to keep this as a consideration and build practical options, such as naming successor agents, into our estate plan. In this Estate Planning Minute, Wes Coulson discusses another common estate planning mistake and the problems that can come from assuming we “can always change things later.”

Common Estate Planning Mistake #4: Assuming that you can always change things later


Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Estate Planning Minute. This is another in our series on Common Estate Planning Mistakes. The one I want to talk about today is the assumption that I think a lot of people embrace that if something changes, that they can always change those documents later.

Let me tell you my experience on that. First, if a close loved one, like a spouse, dies, that just is not the first thing that comes to mind for the surviving spouse. They have too many other things on their mind and more often than not, even though it could be done, theoretically it doesn’t get done. Moreover, we’ve seen a lot of instances in which the first time that those documents are actually taken out to take a look at them, is when the person who signed them is now incompetent and needs somebody to take over on their behalf. Well, guess what, if the documents are gotten out at that point, we find out that the person named as power of attorney is dead and that no successor has been named, then we have a big problem. We are in court for guardianship or conservatorship proceedings. So, you don’t want to do it that way. You want to make sure in your estate planning documents that you address the possibility of people dying before you, or not being able or willing to do things and to name plenty of successors in your plan. Thanks.

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