Preventing Litigation Issues with Advance Directives

The content below is a transcript of the NBI webcast Elder Law: Start to Finish, held October 2016

Here are a few litigation issues that may arise with Advance Directives and why it is important to date your documents:

  • Multiple versions
  • Claims of undue influence, duress and fraud
  • Trust scams and schemes
  • Common liabilities and liable parties

Multiple versions of similar documents that say different things is a common litigation issue that arises with advance directives. While you may have had one gifting scheme in place, you may have changed your mind after awhile.

A lot of advance directives clients ask me “Once I put this plan into place and once I have everything together, shouldn’t I give a copy of the advance directive to my agent, trustee and/or accountant?” The answer is a resounding “No, no please don’t” because what happens is you end up with many different versions of the same type of document. While one person, whom you may have named as a trustee, starts the administration of your advance directives when you die, they may not know that you have executed a more recent document with your accountant or someone else. Not only are you duplicating efforts, but you are causing confusion within people who most likely grieving at your passing.

It is easier to keep your advance directives in one place and let your agent, trustee and/or accountant known where they can find it. It is important to note that you do not want to leave your advance directives in the safety deposit box because you are going to need that document on a weekend, holiday or at night and you or your agents will not be able to access it.

If you have additional questions about advance directives or other estate planning issues, please contact our advance directives attorney in Los Angeles today.

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