You should conduct a regular estate plan audit.
Estate planning is important for any adult.
It allows you to pass your assets wherever you chose at death.
I will be the first to admit that it is not a fun subject matter?
Nevertheless, this topic must be tackled or you will leave only a big old mess for your grieving loved ones.
Not to pile on, but estate planning also involves incapacity planning.
If you are like most people, you want to know that a trustworthy individual would be managing your finances or making your healthcare decisions if you could not.
Perhaps this is all just old news to you.
According to a recent Forbes article “Auditing Your Estate Plan,” you should undertake an estate plan audit whether you have no plan or if it has been years since you created your plan.
What will your estate plan audit look like if you have no plan?
First, schedule an appointment with an experienced estate planning attorney.
He or she will help you create the best plan for your current circumstances.
As part of the process, you will be asked to evaluate your goals.
What would you like your estate plan to accomplish?
Do you need to provide for your spouse or other family members?
Do you want to save on income, estate, or gift taxes?
Do you want to contribute assets to charity?
Do you want to prioritize financial security in retirement?
Perhaps you want to protect your beneficiaries and assets from creditors.
These are all important considerations.
Your estate plan audit also should involve evaluating who you want to serve in the important roles of executor, trustee, or guardian.
For incapacity planning, you will need to select one person or more to make your medical and financial decisions.
Your goals will shape the your estate plan.
Now, what should you do if you already have an estate plan?
Has it been more than three years since your last estate plan audit?
If yes, evaluate your goals.
Have they changed?
Have there been births, deaths, marriages, or divorces in your family?
Has your income, investments, or property ownership changed?
Do any assets need to be retitled?
While you are at it, revisit over all of your asset titles, beneficiary designations, wills, trusts, advance health care directives, and durable powers of attorney with your estate planning attorney to ensure that they still align with your goals, tax law, and the laws of your state.
By completing a regular estate plan audit, your can rest assured knowing your affairs will be in order if you die or become incapacitated.
Reference: Forbes (Sep. 23, 2020) “Auditing Your Estate Plan”