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My Lawyer Retired-What Happens to my Estate Planning Documents Now?

What happens to your Will or estate plan if your estate planning attorney dies, retires, quits practicing, or is otherwise not available when you or your family need estate legal services in the future?

Clients mistakenly believe that their estate legal program will fall apart if the attorney who prepared and implemented the plan is not around at a later date.

People who put an estate legal program in place typically have either a Will-based plan or a Living Trust-based plan.

Over the years, many people have gone to “other” attorneys or firms to get their Will done. Later, when they need to change their Will (perhaps change the heirs; or change the executor) they go to another attorney to either make the changes, or, when someone dies, to handle the probate,When new services are provided,  the previous attorney or firm does not have to be located or communicated with. It is often easy to make the transition.

When someone creates a Living Trust-based estate planning program, they often mistakenly believe that legal documents must be updated every time they buy or sell property, or even open an investment account. That assumption is incorrect. The key is, simply, to buy the new property, or open the investment account, in the name of the trust. And when the Settlor of a trust dies, note that many Living Trusts are settled with no attorney involvement whatsoever. So if the attorney who helped you implement your Trust-based plan is not around when you need to name new beneficiaries, or settle the trust when you die, it’s OK.

It is not unlike when you lose the services of your doctor, your CPA, or your financial advisor. You simply find someone else that you know, like, and trust to pick up where you left off with the other professional service provider.

Read more related articles here:

What Happens if Your Estate Planning Attorney Dies Before You?

Why Should A Solo Practitioner Do Succession Planning?

Also, read one of our previous blogs here:

Succession Planning vs. Estate Planning – Why They Are Both Important

Click here to check out our On Demand Video about Estate Planning.

Click here for a short informative video from our own Attorney Bill O’Leary.


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