Review Legal Documents
IT’S TIME: Wills, Power of Attorneys, Trust Agreements, and More
The start of a new year is a perfect time to review the legal documents that you had a lawyer prepare more than five years ago. You know the documents I’m referencing. Wills, Power of Attorneys, Trust Agreements, are just a few. Are they stored in a safe deposit box, or maybe the safe in your office, or did you put them in a drawer in your bedroom? Many times, the last time you looked at them was when you signed them, and your circumstances may be very different in 2019 compared to when you had the documents originally prepared.
Wills should be reviewed every five years. You need to look at your assets and debts compared to when you had the will prepared. Who would you like to receive your cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, pension plans, etc.? Divorce, remarriage and separation could affect how your assets could be distributed. Maybe you now have children, or if you have children they are no longer minors. Grandchildren, adopted children and blended families should be considered. Is the person that you designated as Executor still alive and competent? It’s also a good idea to list several alternate executors so that in the event a named executor predeceases you, there are other executors already named who can be appointed by the court.
Power of Attorneys need reviewed regarding your named Agent. Agents are usually selected as someone you trust to act on your behalf with regard to your property and healthcare when you are no longer able to do so. They can make gifts on your behalf, create trusts, acquire or dispose of property, handle your banking, speak with medical personnel, employ or discharge medical personnel, in general make decisions for you because you trust them and they are aware of your wishes. If your named Agent is now your ex-spouse, deceased, or you no longer trust their judgment to act on your behalf, it might be time to update these documents.
Trusts should be reviewed and possibly amended. When you established your trust, you probably based decisions on your assets, needs and wishes at that time. There are many types of trusts, trusts not only for your sole benefit, but also trusts which can benefit various charitable organizations which you desire to support. Amendments can be made to many trust agreements to change or add beneficiaries, change the disposition of the trust, or to change trustees. Don’t have a trust? Maybe now is the time.
So, dust off those documents, jot down questions and ideas, and then give us a call. We look forward to your call and working with you in 2019.
Hoffmeyer & Semmelman LLC is a law office in York PA. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to review your legal documents.