OK I don’t believe there was ever an actual estate planning episode on The Andy Griffith Show, but the show is one of my all time favorites.  With the recent loss of Andy Griffith I could not pass up the chance to offer a little tribute.  Though I would love to simply recount my favorite episodes or scenes from the show, I guess I need to offer some useful info as well.  So I will use some great episodes from the show to illustrate the importance of keeping your estate planning documents up to date.

Even if you have a great set of estate planning documents in place, circumstances in your life will change and tax laws will change.  Your estate plan only works if it is relevant to your circumstances and the applicable laws at the time of your death.  This means that keeping your estate plan current is an important part of your overall financial plan and life plan.   Be sure to review your estate plan every three or four years to ensure that it continues to address your goals and is current with changes in the law.  When in doubt call your attorney and ask if any update is needed.

What are some Mayberry examples of changes that may warrant an update of estate planning documents?

Marriage – See Episode 94 “Mountain Wedding”…Barney in the wedding dress and the first sighting of Ernest T. Bass.

Birth of First Child – See Episode 29 “Quiet Sam”…Andy plays midwife for a farmer.

Divorce – See Episode 120 “Divorce Mountain Style”….The Darlings are back and Bob Denver pops up on this one.

Death of a Spouse – See Episode 8 “Opie’s Charity”…a subplot here involves a husband who returns from the grave after his wife made up a story that he died.

Changes in Wealth – See Episode 36 “Mayberry Goes Bankrupt” … local citizen becomes rich overnight after finding a very old savings bond which was never cashed.

Relocating to Another State – See Episode 12 “Stranger in Town”….new out-of-state resident has adopted Mayberry as his hometown…this is a classic early episode.

Spendthrift Child or Grandchild —  See Episode 47 “Bailey’s Bad Boy”…spoiled rich kid gets arrested and learns a lesson…also Bill Bixby appearance.

Changes in Tax Laws  — See Episode 129 “Barney’s Physical”… the physical requirements for deputy are increased by state law putting Barney’s career in jeopardy…until Andy and Aunt Bea come to the rescue.

So what would Andy have to say about estate planning really?  I guess if Aunt Bea was doing one of those do–it–yourself Wills he would surely say “Aunt Bea…just call the man!”