Estate planning is a crucial aspect of securing your financial future and ensuring your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. However, it’s not a one-and-done task. Life changes, laws evolve, and financial circumstances shift. To maintain the effectiveness of your estate plan, you must periodically update it. Here we’ll provide you with a comprehensive checklist to ensure your estate plan stays current and aligned with your wishes. Let’s dive in!
Updating Your Estate Plan
- Review Your Will:
The cornerstone of any estate plan is your Last Will and Testament. Review it to confirm it accurately reflects your current wishes regarding asset distribution, guardianship of minor children, and executor appointments.
- Update Beneficiary Designations:
Check the beneficiaries listed on your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and investment accounts. Make sure they align with your current intentions, especially after significant life events like marriage, divorce, or the birth of children.
- Revise Your Power of Attorney:
If you have a financial or healthcare power of attorney, ensure that the designated individuals are still suitable for these roles and that they are willing to fulfill their responsibilities.
- Reevaluate Your Guardianship Designation:
If you have minor children, review your choice of guardians. Confirm their willingness and ability to take on this important responsibility.
- Assess Your Healthcare Directives:
Review your living will and healthcare proxy to ensure your healthcare preferences are up to date, including end-of-life decisions and medical treatment preferences.
- Examine Your Trust Documents:
If you have a trust, review it with your attorney to ensure it still aligns with your goals, assets, and beneficiaries.
- Update Asset Ownership:
Check the title and ownership of your assets, such as real estate and financial accounts, to ensure they are properly titled to align with your estate plan.
- Consider Tax Implications:
Stay informed about changes in tax laws that may affect your estate plan. Consult with a tax professional to minimize potential tax burdens on your estate.
- Review Your Digital Assets:
In today’s digital age, don’t forget to account for your online presence, including social media accounts, email, and digital assets. Decide what should happen to them after your passing.
- Evaluate Business Interests:
If you own a business, consider how your passing might impact the company’s future. Plan for succession or sale if necessary.
- Keep Records Organized:
Maintain a well-organized record of your estate planning documents, account statements, and contact information for your attorney and other key individuals.
- Communicate Changes:
Inform key family members, beneficiaries, and executors of any updates to your estate plan to avoid confusion or disputes later.
- Consult with Legal and Financial Professionals:
Finally, schedule regular meetings with your attorney, financial advisor, and other professionals to ensure your estate plan remains current and effective.
Updating your estate plan is a vital task that should not be neglected. Life is unpredictable, and your financial circumstances and family dynamics can change over time. By following this comprehensive checklist and staying proactive, you can ensure that your estate plan continues to protect your loved ones and fulfill your wishes. Don’t wait – take the necessary steps today to keep your estate plan up to date and in line with your evolving needs and goals. Contact us today to get started.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.