BE SURE TO REVIEW YOUR ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS

When you create an estate plan that adequately expresses your wishes for the distribution of assets after death, it is easy to set aside the plan and ignore it until the death comes. However, authorities note that it is important to make a periodic review of all estate planning documents to ensure that they continue to work effectively for the person creating the plan. In addition to the periodic review, there are life situations that may trigger the need to make changes to the plan that is in place.

For example, when a couple in Texas decides to wed or to divorce, there can be changes that must be made to existing estate planning documents. In the case of a wedding, it may be necessary to add a new name to a trust or update what provisions would be made in the case of a person’s death. Or, if a marriage is ending, new powers of attorney or changes may be needed. Similarly, when there are changes in your children’s status or new step-children are added to the equation, estate planning documents should be reviewed carefully to avoid a battle later.

For those who have trusts as a part of their estate planning portfolio, it may be important to complete a periodic review to make sure that all property has been properly placed in the trust. This is the case when a new mortgage is acquired or a refinance is completed. If the property is removed from a trust to refinance and then not replaced, it could mean problems down the road. Creating new accounts of any kind warrants the review of estate planning documents, especially a trust. It is important to ensure that all accounts are included in the trust plan.

If one does not review their estate planning documents, some of the most valuable elements of estate planning, such as avoiding probate or reducing familial stress, may be limited. In addition, a person may find that there are new tools that can more adequately take care of their wishes for asset distribution to potential heirs. Texas residents should not be afraid to ask questions and seek experienced help with their estate plans; after all, the future of their family is at stake.

Source: Forbes, “5 Life Events That Require An Estate Planning Review,” Michael Chamberlain, Aug. 13, 2012