New Year, New Plan? Not necessarily. But, if you are a part of the growing number of families that have already or want to answer their “What-if” questions, the new year offers a great reminder to review that which you have already done and update it if need be. Often, the updates you would want to make won’t cost you anything, ie beneficiary designations, as you don’t need an attorney to do this for you.
The following checklist may be basic, but it will assist in maintaining the peace of mind your estate plan is meant to bring.
#1: Do you know where your Will, Trust, Child Documents, Living Will, and Powers of Attorney are?
If you worked with Jeppesen Law, you were provided a binder to keep your estate planning documents in.
You may have decided to move the original, and to keep a copy in the binder, which is fine - but everyone who has done estate planning should make sure that they not only have a full set of copies, but that they know where the originals are.
It is vitally important to know where the originals are - especially the original Wills and Trusts. Very often finding the where-about of the Will or Trust is the first and most stressful assignment of Personal Representative or Trustee. Also, not having the original can prolong and increase the cost incurred during the execution of your plan. So, make certain you and those who are acting in a vital role for you know where your plan is.
#2: Review the substance of the documents to make sure they do what you want them to do.
Much of what is in your Will or Trust does not directly apply to you, per se. That is to same, it is not all tailored to you. Those bulky, wordy sections are there because your attorney has a legal requirement to provide legally competent advice and practice to a certain legally acceptable level for your area.
But, that doesn’t mean that your Will or Trust is not tailored to you, it means that there are certain sections to review yearly to directly apply to you.
Does the document still involve the right people in positions of authority, whether that authority be a Guardian if minor children, Trustee of a Trust, Personal Representative of your Will, or attorney-in-fact for your Powers of Attorney. Are these still the same people, and are they still in the correct order of priority, to act on your behalf? On a more somber note, have any of these relationships ended, moved significantly far away, had an illness or other situation or have you lost any of these people in the last year which would make them less able to handle the job assigned to them?
Significant Life Changes that can trigger a review of your estate planning documents may include:
-- Significant changes in your wealth;
-- Moving from one state to another;
-- Purchased a new piece of Real Property;
-- Birth of a New Baby;
-- Opened a New Financial Account;
-- Becoming involved with new charities; and/or
-- Moving away from certain relationships or organizations.
As a part of your New Year challenges, challenge yourself to either review or create your Estate Plan. Jeppesen Law Can Help. Schedule a conversation with Justin to ensure your estate planning documents are in order, Here!