KEEP YOUR ESTATE PLAN UP TO DATE WITH REGULAR MAINTENANCE
Once you have written your will, it may be tempting to file it away and forget about it forever – especially if it was difficult to face the task of writing a will in the first place. While it is entirely normal to feel some discomfort around the topic of estate planning, it is important not to completely forget about it once your initial estate plan is in place.
REVIEW YOUR ESTATE PLAN ANNUALLY
To make sure that your wishes are carried out correctly, you will need to review your plan on a regular basis and update it as necessary to account for life’s inevitable twists and turns. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to review your estate plan annually or at least once every three to five years. Doing so will allow you to take advantage of changes to the tax laws that may benefit your estate and will help to ensure that your estate plan is an up-to-date expression of your wishes.
REVIEW YOUR WILL AFTER MAJOR LIFE EVENTS
In addition to giving your estate plan a regular check-up, you should also review it any major change occurs in your life, such as:
- The birth or death of a spouse, child or other beneficiary
- A substantial increase or decrease in assets
- Getting married or divorced
- Moving to another state
- Changes affecting your choice of guardians, representatives or trustees
Each time you update your will and other estate documents, verify that your beneficiaries are correct and that their contact information is up to date. Also review your assets to make sure that they are all accounted for, and consider whether there may be a tax benefit to giving any of them away now instead of transferring them with your estate.
In addition to reviewing how your property will be distributed, also check to see that your estate plan accurately reflects who you want to make decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. To learn more about creating or revising your estate plan, speak with an experienced estate planning attorney.