Part 2: Is there another option through the bank?
In my previous blog post I discussed the unintended consequence of adding someone to a bank account. The natural question that follows is whether one can authorize someone to help conduct business on a bank account without making that person a co-owner. The answer is yes. My view is the front line banking representatives (tellers, assistant branch managers, etc.) simply are not trained to ask the appropriate follow-up questions.
We often have clients who need access to another’s mail. That applies to with the mail of a deceased loved one through the estate administration process. It also applies when the client is assisting a person who is not able to manage his or her own affairs. The latter may involve a guardianship, conservatorship or simply the use of a power of attorney. In any event, we see some of those clients make the common mistake of quickly getting that mail forwarded to the client’s own, home address.
If you choose to forward someone else’s mail to your own address, understand you are likely to receive junk mail in that person’s name forever. Unless you are interested in getting offers and solicitations in that person’s name forever (or maybe it will only seem like forever), take a different approach. We have our clients establish a Post Office Box to which the mail gets forwarded. That way, when the forwarding is no longer needed, the box may be closed and there is a “dead end” created for the mail that prevents the client from receiving that junk mail into the future. It may be a small step but it is one you will be glad you took.
The short answer to this question is almost always “not necessarily.”
I have reviewed Wills, Trusts and other estate planning documents that required no changes despite the fact that they are “old” by most definitions of the word. It is smart to review your estate planning documents on occasion to make sure they still represent your wishes. They should also be checked to make sure they account for any changes you may have in your life since the time when the documents were executed. An estate planning “checkup” with the attorney of your choice is not a bad idea when it has been a while since you executed your documents. While you know the changes that have taken place in your life, the estate planning attorney may alert you to changes in the law that can impact your estate planning choices as well. When you do have estate planning documents executed for the first time or when you make changes, you should receive some type of letter from your estate planning attorney that reviews the things you discussed and the decisions you made. The letter should describe the thought process behind the decisions you made. If your attorney does not provide that type of service automatically, you should request such a letter. The letter may be kept with your documents so it can serve as a guide when you review the documents.
So, do you need to update your estate plan? Not necessarily. However, it doesn’t hurt to review it.