As I prepare for my third child and an expected two months of maternity leave, I’ve been getting a lot of calls for immediate or last-minute help. While I love helping when I can, often my schedule prevents me from preparing legal documents last minute, especially right now. A full estate plan normally takes six to eight weeks to complete. And on top of that, with something so important, I really don’t believe it should be rushed.
Now, in the 10 or so years I’ve been practicing, I’ve had to pass on my condolences to several families. But the worst scenarios, which I’m grateful, have only happened two or three times, is when we’ve lost a client after beginning their estate plan, but before they can sign. Unfortunately, if a legal document is not signed, it’s unenforceable.
We often will also get phone calls from an individual’s family about the individual needing an estate plan. However, after a few questions, we find out the person is no longer able to sign. If a person already is not capable or aware of their surroundings, a totally different process is needed, and an estate plan or power of attorney is simply not possible.
These are truly some of my least favorite calls to receive because there often isn’t much we can do. So, as you think of an estate plan, don’t wait because if something happens (i.e. your attorney goes out on maternity leave) and an emergency comes up, there may not be time for creating or updating legal documents.