What’s The Wrong Time to Get an Estate Plan?

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What’s The Wrong Time to Get an Estate Plan?


The wrong time to get an Estate Plan is when it’s too late. If the horse is already out of the barn then there is nothing that can be done. Here are a couple of examples of situations that I have seen.

Daughter’s Interaction with Bank After Mom Passes Away

A woman comes into my office after her mom passed away and wanted to know why her Mom’s bank would not allow her into her safety deposit box or provide her with account information, she was her Mom’s power of attorney. I had to explain that her Mom’s power of attorney died when her Mom passed away and because she wasn’t a beneficiary on her Mom’s bank accounts or given permission to get into safe deposit box, the only recourse she had was to open an estate or proceed under Indiana’s summary estate rules if her Mom’s estate had less than $50,000.

How could this have been fixed? The daughter could have a beneficiary on the bank accounts.

Son in a Tragic Car Accident

A father comes to me after his son is in a tragic car accident. The son was in a trauma center for a number of months and now has to be admitted into a nursing home.

The Problem: The son is single, in his forties, and did not estate planning. The father could not apply for social security for the son and could not sign the documents to get the son transferred to the nursing home. In this case because the father had no legal authority to act on his adult Son’s behalf, it was necessary to file a guardianship, which cost money and took time.

The Solution: If the son would have had a few simple documents including a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Representative Form (Advanced Directive), there would have been no issues. Dad would have been able to apply for Social Security Benefits and Medicaid and effectuated transfer to the Nursing Home.