It’s Time To Review Your Estate Plan

Alan Lakein wrote, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” Estate planning is no different. It can be a difficult topic because no one wants to talk about end-of-life scenarios although it is an inevitable eventuality. Chances are you’ve completed your estate planning process but have not had your documents reviewed since then. Your estate plan is subject to change and should be reviewed every few years, although there are special circumstances in which you should have it reviewed sooner.

            One of the reasons for an estate plan review is to adjust for major life events. Marriages, divorces, births and deaths may impact your plan. Over time your choices may have changed and your documents may no longer reflect your intentions regarding those receiving and executing the estate.

There may be individuals (or charitable organizations) that should be added or removed from your plan and your investment accounts based on your wishes. It is important to evaluate your plan because assets and valuations may have changed since you first prepared your estate documents. This may be the time to make additional specific bequests of assets that were not made in the original plan.

Taxes are always a consideration during estate planning. State and Federal tax laws may have changed since you prepared your documents. Estate documents are subject to current applicable laws and it is essential to know that your wishes will be honored without any legal challenges.

            Appointing an executor of your estate can be a challenging process. While reviewing your estate plan, it is a good idea to verify that the person you’ve chosen is still able and willing to conduct your affairs. If you have chosen an executor, it is a good idea to name them as a trusted contact on your accounts for ease of transition, if necessary.

            Too often, estate planning is seen as a “set-it and forget-it” one time event. With an ever-changing world it is important to keep these documents up to date and a reflection of your desire to preserve and transfer your wealth. It is a best practice to confirm the terms of your Power of Attorney on a regular basis to familiarize yourself with how and when your designee will act. It is also imperative to confirm and share the location of these documents with those responsible for implementing them.

            There are various ways to amend your estate plan. We encourage you to personally review your documents and reach out to us if you need to make updates or changes to your instructions on your portfolio. Additionally, you may contact the attorney who prepared your original documents and make an appointment to revise them.

            Decisions made during estate planning have been given much thought and are enduring. We want you to have the peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be carried out just as you planned and while avoiding the inherent risks of outdated documents.

It’s time to review your estate plan.