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The Plain English Attorney

Unfortunately it happens too often. About a week ago, someone called our office about having some estate planning done for him and his partner, and he had heard about how our firm has a concentration in helping domestic partners with their plans. He told us he was impressed with our involvement in the Human Rights Campaign and that I lead the National Institute for Domestic Partner Estate Planning, and that he really needed our help to get documents in place for him and his partner. He also said that they had talked about planning for years, but didn’t call until now, but things needed to be done right away.

That was when we asked why it needed to be done right away.

He told us that he needed to get at least the healthcare power of attorney and financial power of attorney done immediately for his partner because the partner was in the hospital, he was unable to make decisions for himself, and the family had “taken over” to the point they kicked him out of his house. Actually, the house was in the sick partner’s name only. And most of the financial accounts were as well. And, basically, the partner not in the hospital was all but broke.

It was difficult to tell him, but he was out of luck when it came to getting power of attorney for his partner because he was obviously not competent to sign the power of attorney documents. This also meant that there was also no way to make sure he inherited from his partner if his partner did pass on. What was probably the most difficult thing was all of it could have been put in place at any point prior to his partner falling ill, and he said that he never expected his partner’s family to act this way. This situation just illustrates that there is no perfect time for life and estate planning, but there does come a time when it is too late to plan.

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