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Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes- Step 4

Make documents accessible to those who need them.

Henry was a very private man. He did not discuss his estate plan with his children. Henry’s children, Barbara and Sam, believed that they needed to be frugal to make ends meet.  Henry never discussed his finances with his children.

When Henry was hospitalized and passed on life support, they did not know of dad’s wishes regarding end of life decision making.  Was there a Living Will?

Then, when he passed, the children were at a loss as to what dad owned, what his desires were regarding his estate as they could not find his Last Will and Testament.  They were shocked to find out that Dad had significant assets.  His quality of life could have been much better if he had spent some of his money on himself. Further, the children soon found out about the estate taxes owed to New York State on dad’s estate, which could have been avoided.

Family members and heirs need access to their oved one’s documents in order to help make ongoing decisions for their loved one. The nominated fiduciaries of an estate need access to documents in order to know how to proceed should their loved one pass away. A starting point is to communicate with your family as to your estate plan and the documents you have signed. Another possible solution is to use a secure online document storage service that lets clients upload PDF copies of their wills, trusts and other forms.

For more on the “Peace of Mind” program at Vincent J. Russo to avoid these problems, visit:

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