Out with the Old… In With the New…

I keep all kind of stuff. I have the most awesome baseball glove sitting on a shelf in my basement. I can see it in my minds eye right now. The Rawlings logo, a red sewn on patch with Rawlings scrawled in cursive in white attached to this divine piece of leather. I have played so many baseball games with that glove, caught so many balls. I have every award I have ever received somewhere in boxes at the house. Every once in a while I will stumble upon one and find myself lost in memories and going through the entire box. Estate planning documents like Wills are a different story, however. Not only are they not necessarily a document with nostalgic sentimental value, but there is danger in holding on to old estate planning documents if you have drafted new Wills.

Let’s say one of my children find three different wills I drafted during my life stashed away in a safe place after I die. Which one would he reveal to the family? Which one would he reveal to the courts? My hope is the latest Will I drafted. You know, the one that states: “This is my Last Will & Testament and I hereby revoke any prior Wills or Codicils drafted previously by me.” However, he might be so inclined to pick the Will that favors him the most. That may not have been my latest version. Therein lies on of the dangers. My latest set of wishes may not be followed and none would be the wiser. It is a good idea to dispose of old estate planning documents once you replace those documents with new ones. You not only ensure your latest wishes will be followed but you also ensure you have the most updated version under current law. Laws change and it is a good idea to update your estate planning documents from time-to-time. It is a good idea to have them reviewed. So, keep the sentimental items from your past, not old estate planning documents when you have replaced them with newer versions.

Greg McIntyre

Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney


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