Eleventh Hour Estate Planning in Virginia

DeathbedWhen death grows near, the issue of a legacy can come into much sharper focus.

As the end of life becomes less abstract, everyone has the tendency to review their life and often their estate plan as well. Consequently, some decide to radically change their plans. Deathbed revisions can however create dangerous challenges to any estate plan if not accomplished correctly. The Wall Street Journal considered this matter in a recent article titled “Changing a Will at the Last Minute.

Trusts or Wills are important documents. Not surprisingly therefore, drafting an estate plan “on the fly” or redrafting one from the hospital bed raises the red flag. Since your estate plan expresses your final intentions in black and white, if there is any room to question the truth, seriousness, or sanity (yes, that is a big one) of your black and white intentions, then the entire plan can be thrown out. Against this backdrop, pause for a moment of serious self-reflection before making any changes to your estate plan under circumstances that could attract greater scrutiny later. For example, ask yourself “why do I need to make this change now and not before?”

The simple truth is that your last-minute revision can be utterly intentional and utterly necessary. For one, our thoughts about life, family and charity likely become crystal clear when the end becomes real. There may be every reason in the world certain changes must be made now and not before. Then again, the legal environment changes constantly and sometimes the estate plans must be updated to save the family fortune from taxes or protect loved ones.

Bottom line: there has to be a seriousness and thoroughness to your planning whenever created and while  last minute revisions to your estate planning documents might be required, they must be done correctly or risk causing more harm than good.   Successful estate planning means working closely with competent estate planning counsel.  This is not a “do-it-yourself project.” For that matter, proper planning now may lead you away from the need to annotate or change your estate planning documents later.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: The Wall Street Journal (November 10, 2013) “Changing a Will at the Last Minute


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.