We recommend reviewing your estate plan regularly to determine whether it remains up to date – below is a checklist of some questions to revisit each year.
How do I know when to update my estate plan?
- Who: Consider whether there have been any changes with the people in your life.
- Have you or your children been married or divorced?
- Have there been any new births?
- Has anyone named in your Will died or become disabled?
- Have you fallen out of touch with anyone named in your Will?
- What: Consider whether there have been any changes in your personal circumstances or the law.
- Have your personal finances changed significantly?
- Has your health changed?
- Have there been any changes to federal or state law that may affect your estate plan? Or any changes in the law governing your Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy?
- Where: Consider where people (including you) now live.
- Have you moved to another state since you last revised your estate plan?
- Have any of your beneficiaries, trustees or executors moved?
- When: Even if none of the events noted above have occurred, check when your plan was last updated.
- Did you sign a new Will more than 3-5 years ago?
- Did you update your 401K, IRA or life insurance beneficiary designations more than 3-5 years ago?
What documents should I be checking?
- Revocable Trust, if applicable
- Power of Attorney
- Health Care Proxy
- Living Will
- Beneficiary Designations (401K, IRA, life insurance, etc.)
- Title to Real Estate
What should I be looking for?
- Executors, Trustees, Guardians, Health Care Agent, Financial Agent (under Power of Attorney) – who have I named and does it still make sense for him/her to serve in that role?
- Beneficiaries – who are the beneficiaries in my Will? Who are the beneficiaries named for my IRA, 401K, life insurance, etc.? Does it still make sense to name those individuals?
- Outright vs. Trust – do my beneficiaries receive my estate outright or in trust? Should this be changed?
- Taxes – How do the current laws on income and estate tax affect my plan? Does the plan still make sense in light of any changes to the tax law?