400 Million Reasons to Do Your Estate Plan When You Are of Sound Mind
Early versions of Obama-Care had older folks making end-of-life decisions with a government-payed counselor on the way into a medical facility. The time to make decisions concerning Patient Advocates and Advance Directives is not on your way into a hospital but rather when you are of a sound, clear thinking mind without the numerous stresses that occur while being admitted into a medical facility.
In addition, by waiting too long you allow yourself to be manipulated by family members, accountants and lawyers. Take the case of Heiress Huguette Clark. At 98 and with $400 million she finally prepared her first Will, naming her nieces and nephews as the primary beneficiaries. Amazingly, within only 6 weeks, she prepared a new Will naming a Non-Profit Organization formed by her attorney and her accountant as the primary beneficiary.
It appears that she was convinced that her nieces and nephews did not care. Although because she was laid up for a period of time she communicated primarily through her attorney and accountant. The nieces and nephews are claiming that there were numerous attempts to communicate through her attorney, however, her attorney never relayed the communications thus, the allegations are, that she was fully manipulated by her paid counselors.
With this case being reported by numerous newspapers both on the internet and in print, it strikes me that Huguette Clark in her prime was no one to fool with. I seriously doubt any accountant or attorney would have been able to manipulate her as easily as is suggested.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of determining when you have a clear and sharp mind, who your Estate Plan is including, who will be handling your financial affairs, and who will be handling your personal matters.
I have repeatedly advised people to go see their attorney to get an effective Estate Plan. However, doing this when you are unable to make your own decisions gives far too much authority to the attorney and at $400 million, we end up with this news of Huguette Clark. The point you may ask? Determine your Estate Plan and choose your fiduciaries (those that will help you when you are unable to help yourself) and care givers when you are competent to do so.