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Ensuring the Accessibility of Your Estate Planning Documents

By March 10, 2013Estate Planning

Once you have executed your estate plan and ensured all your assets are titled properly, there is still work to be done with regards to your estate plan.  The most overlooked remaining item is ensuring the accessibility of your estate planning documents.

If you become incapacitated, or when you pass away, your agent (or successor trustee) must be able to provide documentation that they are, in fact, able to make decisions on your behalf.  This means that your agent must be able to locate documents, such as your health care power of attorney, property power of attorney, and trust agreement.

Personally, I am not a proponent of giving family members or other loved ones copies of all of your estate planning documents. However, if you do provide a full copy of your estate planning documents to a family member or loved one, be sure to inform said person when you make changes to your documents so they do not retain out-of-date or incorrect documents.  My recommendation is that clients inform others where to find their original estate planning documents as well as the contact information for the law firm that assisted in the creation of the documents.  In most cases, I do suggest giving copies of all health care documents – Health Care Power of Attorney, Mental Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will and HIPAA Release – to each agent you have listed on your documents.  This enables my client to discuss with each agent their wishes and beliefs on medical treatment and long term care issues.  This helps your loved ones to understand the manner in which you would like them to act on your behalf if necessary.

By ensuring accessibility of your estate planning documents, you make the administration of your estate plan a much smoother process for your family or loved ones.


What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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