You may know that your estate plan prepares for the most important things you want to happen at the point that you can no longer make decisions for yourself, or are no longer here to make them. It can protect not only you during your lifetime, but your loved ones, your business, and your legacy well into the future. Setting it up just once and not planning to make revisions over time, however, may be a recipe for disaster.
It is crucial to evaluate your estate plan at a regular interval to ensure everything you wanted when it was initially created still fits your current needs. We all know that things change in life, often at a moment’s notice. While you are able to make adjustments as needed in your day-to-day life to accommodate changes, you may not realize that this same attention to detail needs to be applied to your estate plan as well.
The key is to determine what matters most to you, and then make a plan to protect it. Going forward, you want to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind at all times. If a significant change occurs that impacts those goals, then it may be time to discuss them with your estate planning attorney. For example, if your spouse is your primary decision maker and, suddenly, he or she is unable to make decisions for you, then it may be the right time for you to update your estate plan.
We often find that the first estate plan you set up is based on what is most important to you at the moment. You wanted to create an estate plan based on these concerns. The things that are most important to you, however, may change over time. For example, while you provided for your children in your estate plan, at the time of its creation there were no grandchildren to consider. Now that your grandchildren are here, it may be the right time to update your estate plan to include them in your legacy planning.
At a minimum, every few years you should take the time to look over your estate plan. A few things to look at include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Can the person you named as your personal representative still act for you?
- Who have you named as beneficiaries? Should you change their inheritance?
- Who has the authority to make decisions for you in a crisis?
During your review period, you may notice something immediately that you want to change or you may need to take a much closer look to evaluate each of the details to find something you want to change.
Talk with your estate planning attorney about what you want to do. Even if you decide to keep your estate planning as is, the laws may have changed and you may need more guidance from your attorney on how to plan forward. After all, the whole point of an estate plan is to make sure that your wishes are not only met but can be fulfilled.
If you are ready to create an estate plan for the first time, or if it has been a while since you last updated your existing plan, then it is time to schedule an appointment. We can help you every step of the way in making sure your intentions will be met when you are no longer able to handle them yourself. We know it can be difficult to make an estate plan and we are here to help.