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Jane Jackson was a prospective new client who arrived at my office without a copy of her estate plan. She told me of Hank’s unexpected heart attack. She was a traditional stay at home housewife, busy raising three kids and active in both the Junior League and Sunday school.

Hank had taken care of all the finances. He had assured Jane that everything was in order. The only problem was he never told Jane where the original estate planning documents were located nor the location of their investments.

We needed a copy of their estate plan and how title was held and the value of those assets at Hank’s death to begin trust administration. Jane was in a panic. She had nothing. She did not even have the monthly bank statements as Hank did everything online and never bothered to share with her the password for the accounts.

Hank had died several weeks beforehand and he was still in the refrigerator at the hospital! Jane didn’t have the money to pay for the funeral nor the hospital bill.

It took our office several weeks to find the right person to break into Hank’s computers and find the bank accounts and get money to pay the hospital and funeral bills. Several weeks were wasted. Jane was depressed.

All this could have been avoided if Jane and Hank had updated their estate plan and shared with each other their login and password information. They could have also made the job easier if they appointed a digital executor and a digital trustee. Their plan was not up to date. It was a disaster.

Do not put yourself in Jane’s place. Act today to save yourself the suffering of tomorrow.

Call W. Bailey Smith (the Trust Doctor) at 949-833-8891.

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