Ensure Your Estate Plan’s Success

estate planning
Please Share!
Every so often, it’s smart to methodically go through your estate planning documents and see if any tweaks are needed. Here’s a checklist to guide you through that mission.

While estate planning might not be the most appealing topic during the joyous moments of life, such as cuddling a newborn or arranging a family gathering, it is an essential task. It’s a critical duty that often gets overlooked, but when attended to, can provide significant peace of mind.

We recommend reviewing your estate plan every four years, or whenever a significant life event occurs, such as a birth, death, marriage, divorce, or relocation. Regular review is straightforward but critical, as neglecting this could lead to strategic tax plans becoming obsolete and unnecessary costs arising.

Should you find yourself in a new state, it’s important to reassess your estate plan. Estate laws vary across states, so it’s crucial to ensure your arrangements remain valid. Remember to update your address and inform your family and advisors about the location of your last will in your new residence.

It’s also crucial to stay updated with changes in laws that may impact your estate plan. Over the last half-decade, we’ve seen numerous changes in laws, notably the SECURE Act, which significantly altered how inherited IRA accounts are managed. Your estate plan might need revising to ensure your heirs and retirement accounts remain protected.

The Power of Attorney (POA) is a significant document to consider. This legal instrument allows a person of your choosing to manage your financial, business, personal, and legal affairs if you’re incapacitated. Ensure your POA is up-to-date and the chosen representative is still willing and capable. If changes are necessary, they must be documented in writing and communicated to the relevant parties.

Similarly, your Health Care Power of Attorney should be reviewed regularly. Marriage doesn’t automatically grant your spouse the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. If you have specific medical preferences, these should be documented in your Health Care POA.

The Last Will and Testament remains a critical document in estate planning. Regular review is necessary to ensure the executor, property guardian for minor children, and trust provisions for your children’s upbringing and inheritance protection are current and appropriate.

Trusts, if included in your estate plan, require periodic review. Trustee and successor appointments should remain suitable, and potential estate and inheritance taxes should be accounted for. If you have an irrevocable trust, verify the trustee’s continued ability to fulfill their duties.

Finally, if your estate plan involves charitable gifting, be aware that laws can change, potentially impacting your strategy. Regular estate plan reviews offer an opportune moment to reassess the organizations you intend to support.

While estate planning might not be an enticing task, its importance cannot be overstated. Regular reviews and updates can save future complications and ensure your assets, family, and legacy remain secure.

If you or a loved one needs assistance with elder law or estate planning issues, do not hesitate to BOOK A CALL using our calendar. We are here to help.