If you have finally made the substantial step of creating an estate plan, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you are done planning for the future. In reality, you are not finished yet. Instead, there are several important steps that you should take to make sure that your estate plans are properly maintained.
Monitor Asset Ownership
Your estate plan should consider how you own your assets. In many cases, you will likely want your loved ones to be able to easily access your assets in case something suddenly happens to you. It might be a good idea to create joint ownership with accounts or take other efforts to define who can access details about your accounts. Regardless of what options you choose, it is important to understand that asset management is often one of the most critical issues following a person’s death or incapacity.
Monitor Beneficiary Designations
Beneficiary designations are important for deciding how assets that are not included in your will pass on to beneficiaries. Some of the most common accounts where beneficiary designations are found include 401(k)s and IRAs. It is a good idea to routinely check beneficiary designations to make sure that they reflect your wishes for who should receive assets. If you pass away or incapacitated with improper beneficiary designations, your plans for the future can end up derailed.
Understand that Estate Plans Change
Estate plans are not written in stone. Instead, many factors that occur in a person’s life can make it necessary to change these plans. It is important to regularly review your estate plan to make sure that it accurately reflects your goals for the future.
Several factors can make it necessary to update your estate plan. Many people make it a pattern to review their estate plans every few years or following major life events like births, divorces, and deaths. If you notice any changes that need to be made, you should perform them immediately.
Decide Where to Store Documents
Keep your estate planning documents in a location that is safe, yet easily accessible. Many people decide to store their estate planning documents in a safe or with a lawyer. Avoid placing originals of your estate planning documents in a safety document box because a court order is required to obtain the will if the creator dies or passes away suddenly.
Decide Who Should Receive Copies of Your Estate
If you plan on relocating, you are likely concerned about how this will impact your estate plan. In many cases, estate planning documents that are created in one state will also be treated as valid in another. There is a substantial risk, however, that provisions found in an estate planning statement document might not be deemed valid in the new state. As a result, if you plan on relocating, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney in the state where you plan to relocate.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer
The estate planning process is complex, but an experienced attorney can make things much easier. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.