Congratulations! You have put in the time, made the decisions, and signed the documents.
Your estate plan is complete. With the knowledge that your beneficiaries will be cared for and your wishes will be carried out, you can finally sit back and relax…for about three years.
It is recommended that estate plans be reviewed and updated every three to five years to ensure that they continue to reflect your wishes, financial status, and any recent estate planning legislation passed into law.
When it comes to planning for your death or incapacity, the biggest mistake a person can make, after not having an estate plan at all, is having one that is out of date.
Estate planning documents that should be reviewed and updated regularly:
- A Last Will and Testament nominates a personal representative who will be granted the power to wrap up your affairs after receiving Letters of Authority from the probate court. A Will can also set forth a guardian or conservator for any minor children in the event of a parent’s death.
- A Revocable Living Trust details your wishes for the timing, amount, and conditions of asset distribution for assets titled in trust. It also identifies a “successor trustee” who is authorized to act immediately upon your incapacity or death, avoiding the time-consuming and potentially costly probate court process. Your Revocable Living Trust will become irrevocable upon your incapacity or death.
- A General and Durable Power of Attorney designates a person to act legally on your behalf with respect to financial and business decisions. It can be effective immediately or upon your incapacity and it terminates at death. The person designated as your durable power of attorney must sign an acknowledgement indicating an acceptance of the duties.
- A Medical or Health Care Power of Attorney designates a person to make medical decisions for you in the event of your incapacity. Similar to the durable power of attorney, the person designated as your health care power of attorney must sign an acknowledgement indicating an acceptance of the duties and a willingness to act.
- When should your estate planning documents be updated? They should be reviewed every three to five years or whenever the following significant events occur:
- Adoption or birth of a child
- Death of a fiduciary, spouse or beneficiary
- Change in financial circumstances
Your documents should also be updated when you wish to change a named fiduciary or beneficiary or wish to change how your assets will be allocated among your beneficiaries.
In estate planning, it is advisable to review and update your documents at regular intervals and when significant life changes occur. Strobl Sharp PLLC is a team of experienced and trusted lawyers that can advise on all legal matters relating to estate planning. For more information, visit Strobl Sharp online at www.stroblandsharp.com or on LinkedIn.