Here is the remaining article regarding the messy outcome of poor estate planning which effected the ability for Gary Coleman’s estate to be settled in a timely manner.
Steve Greenwood an attorney that specializes in estate planning shared this article with me.
“Helping Clients Avoid Estate Disputes
The lengthy arguments over Coleman’s estate should be a wake-up call to advisors to remind clients that changes in marital status can leave their own assets in a similar situation. In the event of any changes in marital status, or even in the case of common law marriage, wills and healthcare power of attorney documents must be kept current to ensure that the client’s wishes are clearly stated.
In an article on the court’s decision, Lawyers.com listed several important questions that advisors should discuss with clients (http://tinyurl.com/7smjoqo):
• Who will inherit my property if I die without a will? How can I ensure my assets are left to my children, partner and other loved ones?
• What legal rights does my partner have if I’m hospitalized or on life support? Who can make healthcare decisions on my behalf?
• Can my partner sign contracts on my behalf? Access my bank accounts and pay my bills if I’m incapacitated?
• If I die, how can I ensure that my partner becomes legal guardian of my child? How can we pick a legal guardian for our children if we both die?”
Without answers to these questions, clients are potentially leaving their estates bogged down in a costly and unpleasant legal quagmire which can drag on for years.
I hope this article has helped you and your clients. As always, if you have a specific case or concern please contact me.