Spring Cleaning: Time to Clean Up Your Estate Planning

With spring fast approaching, now is the time to dust off your estate plan to ensure that it will still achieve your goals, as well as to avoid unintended consequences that may arise as a result of divorces, deaths, births, or other changes that have occurred since the last time your plan was reviewed.

Here are a few of the items you should review with your estate planning attorney so any necessary changes can be made to ensure your estate plan is up to date:

Have your children reached adulthood? It seems like just yesterday that they were in diapers, but time passes quickly. Your estate plan likely needs to be revised if your children are no longer minors. Now that they are adults, the guardian you named to be their caregiver no longer needs to be included in your plan. If one of your children tends to be irresponsible with money or has developed an addiction, a trust permitting distributions only for the child’s health, education, support, or welfare may be a better option. Also, if your children now have a family of their own, you may want to revise your estate plan to include your grandchildren.

Do you need to name different fiduciaries? If your fiduciary, e.g., executor, trustee, or agent under a power of attorney, has died, moved far away, or is otherwise no longer able or willing to serve in that role, you need to revise your estate plan to designate a new fiduciary. If the fiduciary you have named is not available when you pass away, and you have not named an alternate, the court will appoint someone to act in that role, and it may not be the person you would have chosen.

Has your spouse passed away? It is especially important to review and revise your estate plan if your spouse has died. The following are only a few of the changes you may need to incorporate into your estate plan to ensure you and your family are still fully prepared for the future.

  • It is likely that you named your spouse as one of the main beneficiaries of your will, trust, retirement account, or life insurance policy, so it is crucial for you to update the beneficiaries named in those documents.
  • If your spouse was named as the successor trustee of your trust, your agent under a power of attorney, or your health care proxy, you need to take the necessary steps to name another trusted person to fill those roles.
  • If you and your spouse owned real estate jointly with a right of survivorship, the property was automatically transferred to you when your spouse died. Although a new deed is not required, you may choose to file the death certificate or an affidavit in the county real estate records office.

Don’t Sweep an Outdated Estate Plan Under the Rug

If you don’t clean up your estate plan, the result could be a big mess for your family and loved ones to straighten up. Call us today to schedule an appointment so we can review and amend your estate plan! (614) 429-1053