Considering The Whole Package

Most estate planners offer a package deal when doing estate plans… You don’t just get get your wills and trust(s) but its prudent to also include documents pertinent to disability planning , e.g. durable general powers of attorney, durable health care powers of attorney, living wills and maybe documents that pertain to the disposition of one’s remains.

And while the wills and trusts, take of most of the drafter’s time, skill and attention, being lazy about the “simple” stuff (i.e. general powers) can be extremely dangerous… Especially where those general powers often give spouses certain rights to re-title property and make decisions about gifting.

This is especially important where clients are currently not in their first marriages and may have brought children to the current marriage. Where one spouse may want to leave certain property to children from a prior marriage, the careful drafter must be cognizant of the fact that, if that spouse dies first, the powers they may have granted their new spouse during their life may grant him/her the power to completely undo those gifts to earlier-born children even if those gifts come from “non-probate” property.

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