Oklahoma public schools are poised to return on August 10th. Understandably, going back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic has given many people time to think about the strengths and weaknesses of the system. Even if you work somewhere other than a school or hospital, back to school is one of the best times of the year to make sure that everything in your house is in order, including your estate plan. 

 

Why You Need an Estate Plan

 

While many people think of wills when they think of estate planning, there are many other critical documents that a person should utilize to plan for death or incapacity. While it is a great first step to write these documents, it is just as good an idea to continuously revisit these documents after they are created to make sure that they still reflect your intentions.

 

Other Documents to Consider Including in Your Estate Plan

 

Besides a will, some of the other valuable documents that you should consider utilizing as a part of your estate plan include:

 

  • Trusts: There are many kinds of trusts that can be utilized to achieve various purposes. Most trusts involve a designated individual holding assets for the benefit of someone else.
  • Power of Attorney: Power of attorney documents appoint an individual who can make decisions for you while you are alive but rendered unable to make your own decisions. While one power of attorney document involves medical decisions, financial power of attorney documents are utilized to make financial decisions for an incapacitated individual.
  • Living Will: A living will is a document that states your wishes about how certain medical procedures and issues should be handled in case you left incapacitated unable to make decisions for yourself. 

 

How Often Should You Update Estate Planning Documents?

 

Estate planning documents might not expire, but there is a substantial risk that eventually they will become outdated. One good rule of thumb is to review estate planning documents every five years or following every major life event, which might include birth, divorce, or deaths. Some questions to ask while you perform this review process include:

 

  • Whether your family situation has changed
  • Whether your asset ownership has changed
  • Whether the person you named as executor is still a suitable choice
  • Whether the person you appointed as guardian of your children is still the best choice
  • Whether the age you set for your children to receive assets is still appropriate

 

In the same way that buying a new set of fall clothes or a backpack for your child is a routine fall activity, as summer heads into fall, it is also a great time to review the terms of your estate plan. Not only should you make sure that the estate planning documents are still up to date, but they should also address any life changes you recently experienced.

 

Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

 

The estate planning process is full of challenges, and there are many unique questions that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need the assistance of an experienced attorney, do not hesitate to contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.