Keeping up with the details of life and changes in our lives takes more time than most of us give it. For many of us, we are so busy watching and planning around the changes occurring at work or school we don’t take time to consider changes that may be occurring in our day-to-day lives and the impact of those changes on planning we have done.
Estate planning is one area of personal planning that doesn’t get a lot of “revisiting.” Your estate plan — your will, power of attorney, health care advanced directives, and beneficiary designations — should be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure it continues to accomplish your planning objectives. Your plan should also be revisited when there are changes in your life and/or that of your family — marriages, births, deaths, divorces, change in state residence, changes in financial status.
Focus on the following as you review your plan:
Fiduciaries. Are the persons you’ve named to serve as executor under your will or successor trustee of your living trust still willing and able to serve? Are you and your spouse still comfortable with the persons you have named to serve as guardians for your children? Is the person named to act under your power of attorney still willing and able to do that?
Beneficiaries. Have there been deaths or births not considered when you had your will or living trust prepared? Have you or one of your beneficiaries married or divorced since then? Do you have an ultimate beneficiary(s) named to receive your estate if all of your family dies before you?
Death Benefits. Are beneficiary designations of life insurance, retirement or IRA benefits coordinated with the plan of distribution under your will or trust?
Assets. Has the value of your estate changed?