It’s important not only to have an estate plan, but also to keep it fresh and current. Assets are bought and sold. Beneficiaries grow up, their needs change, and they sometimes die before you do. Change may not always be welcome, but it comes anyway. Every so often, it’s helpful to take a few steps to keep your estate plan current and just where you want it to be.
Review your Will and any trust agreements
Have there been changes in your family? Have there been changes among your beneficiaries? Do you need to change any beneficiaries? Have there been significant changes in your assets? Have tax laws affecting your estate changed? Have you had new thoughts about how you might leave your estate to reach your objectives and priorities?
Think about whether your named fiduciaries are still the right ones
Are the individuals you named as fiduciaries still able and willing to take on those significant tasks? Do you have the right alternative fiduciaries named? Have there been changes at any institution you named a fiduciary that cause you to rethink that institution serving as your fiduciary?
Review your financial power of attorney
Do you still have complete confidence in the persons you named as attorney-in-fact (agent) to handle your finances? Are any such persons still available and willing to serve? Are you comfortable with those persons having fiduciary powers now, or do you want to condition their service on a medical determination of your disability?
Review your insurance coverage
Have you had a recent review of your insurance coverage with your insurance agent? This should be a comprehensive review of all insurance coverage – life, homeowner’s, auto, umbrella, etc. On life insurance, be sure to check your beneficiary designations.
Review your investments
Are you satisfied with your investments – their suitability and their performance? Are you satisfied with the amount of cash not invested? Are you satisfied with your financial advisor and his or her level of service? Investments require active management, not a “buy and ignore” approach.
Review how your assets are titled
The title to assets may determine whether or not your Will can actually dispose of them. Jointly owned assets, such as those between husband and wife, pass to the surviving owner regardless of the Will’s dispositive provisions.
Fund any lifetime trusts
If you have set up a revocable lifetime trust intending to avoid probate, it is imperative that you fund the trust with the assets that would otherwise be subject to probate. You must not only do this when the trust is made, but continually during your lifetime when new assets are acquired.
We can help you keep your estate plan current and up-to-date
As you can see, there are many reasons why you may need to update your estate plan. We at Parks, Bryant & Snyder, PLLC recommend you review your estate plan every 3 to 5 years or following a major life change. Call us at 931-398-5200, we welcome any discussions with you on this important subject.