Creating an estate plan is not the end of the estate plan. Over the years, your goals and desires may change. Family dynamics, finances and even the law may change.
It is recommended that you review your estate plan about every three years to make sure the plan is in tune with your current situation. Here are some of the steps involved in reviewing your estate plan:
A review of your documents is essential.
Check your trust (if you have one), will, power of attorney, and health-care proxy/living will.
Make sure all documents are signed and the correct people are in place as trustee, executor and agents on the power of attorney and health-care proxy.
A proper review is with an elder law estate planning attorney who can assess the plan. Choose a secure location for storage of your documents.
If you do not have a power of attorney and health-care proxy/living will, you should get them. These advance directives state who will make your decisions if you're incapacitated.
n Review all your beneficiary designations on assets such as life insurance policies, annuities, IRAs and other retirement accounts, and even bank accounts.
It makes sense to name a secondary beneficiary in case the primary beneficiary predeceases you.
Make a list of essential information to let loved ones know where to find important documents, such as deeds, estate planning documents, insurance policies and financial statements.
Make a list of important professionals such as accountant, financial adviser, estate planning lawyer and life insurance agent.
Do not forget to write down your passwords for online accounts, social media and other internet relationships.
You may leave a list of the beneficiaries of your personal property, such as antiques, coins and jewelry.
You do not necessarily have to let anyone know the substance of your wishes regarding disposition of assets, but at least let them know where to locate the necessary documents and professional advisers.
The goal of estate planning is a smooth, efficient transition of your assets to your beneficiaries with the least amount of taxes, court costs, legal fees and the elimination of family squabbles.
A comprehensive plan, and making loved ones aware of it, can help avoid challenges that may arise during administration of your estate.