Dear Clients and Friends:
The death of a spouse brings up many questions, like the one that follows:
Dear Mr. Davidow,
I have a Medicaid trust. My husband recently passed away. Is it time to update the trust? Thanks for all your helpful emails.
First, my condolences for your loss. Second, the death of a spouse is definitely a life event that triggers the need for a full review of all of your estate planning documents. Most likely, you appointed your spouse as your Executor and Agent under a Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and perhaps other documents. While these documents most likely named a successor for your husband, they may not have named a successor for the successor. It may also be more practical to have a new document created naming the previously named successor as primary so you will not always have to carry around your husband’s death certificate to prove his death.
Although the above is generally good advice, it may turn out that no changes need to be made. In fact, the trust will have taken the death of a spouse into account and nothing may need to be done to it at this time. The bottom line is that the death of a spouse is an opportunity to dust off your estate plan and give it a fresh look, to see whether or not any changes need to be made.