Author: Verena Meiser, Esq., Senior Associate—firstname.lastname@example.org
Again and again, I meet with clients whose estate planning documents list their birthdates, names and social security numbers on the first page. Since there is no need to include a social security number on any estate planning document, the practice of doing so represents unnecessary exposure and could easily make you the victim of identity theft. For example, someone may take your social security number from your Durable Power of Attorney or your Advance Directive, as your agents use these documents during periods of your disability. Such a thief could then misuse your social security number to commit medical, banking, tax or any other form of identity fraud. Even following your death, someone who would otherwise not get to see your social security number could take it from your Will and try to claim a refund on your final income tax return. Crooks are quick, creative and resourceful. Why should your estate planning documents give them such easy access to valuable information? Have a look at your estate planning documents. If they include this information, discuss your concerns with your estate planning attorney.