Routine Estate Plan Maintenance You Should Be Doing
Much like that garden or potted plants you may have, your estate plan is a living thing and needs to be maintained. Don’t keep an eye on it and it will wilt and no longer be beneficial.
It’s a great accomplishment when a person has all their estate planning completed. It can put worries to rest and a family at ease knowing their Will, Advance Directive, Power Of Attorney, Life Insurance Policy, and Trust are completed and taken care of.
While we certainly celebrate each of our clients for taking care of these tasks, estate planning does not end on the dotted line. Like your plants, your estate plan is a living, breathing thing. It requires the same routine maintenance you’d give your plants, house, car, or boat. Without this maintenance to make sure everything is current, its usefulness will diminish.
When to Review and Update
It is crucial to review all your estate plans after experiencing a major life event and make any necessary changes. Examples of some life events that you should be updating your estate plans after include:
- Birth/Adoption of a child
- Children no longer minors
- Moving to a new home
- Job changes
- Death of a family member
- Medical emergencies
- Care required for special needs or family member
- Expiration of a Term Life Insurance Policy
- Major Purchases or Sales (Homes, Property, Business)
While any of these life events will necessitate updates to your estate plan, even if none of them occur it’s important not to let your estate plan lie dormant for too long. Your wishes may simply change, the law changes, and you will want to make sure all your planning is up-to-date and that the records are easy to locate when they’re needed. For that reason, all estate plans should be reviewed every three to five years. That may seem excessive at first, but consider how many life events you’ve experienced in the past five years. Have you gotten married or divorced? Gotten pregnant or given birth? Bought or sold a home? Things happen and they can happen on a whim. Plus, tax laws are constantly changing and may impact your estate plans. It’s better to be prepared and updated, rather than have outdated or ineffective plans.
The Main Estate Plan Aspects Requiring Routine Maintenance
When you are making your estate plan reviews, you want to keep an eye on many different things. The biggest and most important to be reviewed and updated are your beneficiaries and fiduciaries (personal representatives, agents, etc.). But there are a multitude of questions that you should be asking yourself before and during your review. Below are a list of several of these questions that you can think about. Other questions will be dependent upon circumstances of the law and your specific plans, and it will be important to have your estate attorney assist you on these. These questions are a baseline to start your estate plan maintenance journey.
Are you still pleased with your choices for Personal Representative, Guardians, and Beneficiaries (Who they are and allocations)?
Have you accounted for your current assets?
Does your family and Personal Representatives know where to find your Will?
Does your Will grant control over your social media accounts?
Have you shared your online accounts and passwords with anyone, or saved them all somewhere? Are they all still current?
Do you still want/need your Trust? Was it for your minor children who’ve grown up now?
Are you still pleased with your choices in trustees and beneficiaries?
Are there any changes or additions you need to make to your Trust?
Are you still pleased with your choice of Health Care Agent?
Does your Health Care Agent still know they’re appointed?
Does this person know what care you want or do not want to receive?
Do all of your medical decisions still apply?
Is your Advance Directive accessible and easily located in an emergency?
Powers Of Attorney
Are you still pleased with who you chose as your Attorney?
Do you have the correct types of POAs in place? Financial and Healthcare?
Does it take effect at the times you want it to?
Remember to give routine review and maintenance to your estate plan to avoid errors or complications. We highly recommend that you go through your entire estate plan with your financial advisors and your estate attorney. Because of the importance of these routine reviews, the Dills Law Firm is proud to offer its CareReview Plans. By paying a low, monthly or annual fee, you’ll receive ongoing support for your estate plan rather than paying high, unexpected fees each time there is an emergency. If you are interested in having your estate plan professional reviewed, or need a new estate plan package created, contact the Dills Law Firm today. We’ll be happy to plan for your legacy!
DISCLAIMER: This post, and all posts on DillsLawFirm.com are meant to provide basic education on a range of legal issues. Nothing written here should be construed as legal advice regarding any particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is created by this post or the information contained herein, and this post may constitute attorney advertising. To get specific legal advice, you should seek out the services of an attorney.