After completing your estate plan, you will find that life continues to change. There are times when these changes are significant, leading to a need to update your existing legal and financial plans. Just as it is imprudent to go without a basic will or more thorough overall plan, it is also imprudent to go without updating existing plans as needed. It is beneficial to carefully evaluate documents every few years and after major events to determine what adjustments are necessary.
Just as it was when you created your estate plan, updating it is a process that is specific to you and your needs. By keeping your plans current, you are providing yourself with security as well as your loved ones and beneficiaries. When considering what updates may be best, there are certain questions you can ask that will provide you with important insight regarding the best way forward.
What’s in your plan?
At the start of the estate planning process, you created a plan based on your circumstances at the time, such as your income, health, number of children and other factors. Over time, these things may no longer be the same, and your plan should reflect important life changes. As you are considering what updates could be important, the following questions may be helpful:
- Who will receive assets from your California estate, including physical property, money and valuable collectibles?
- Who should be executor of the estate, overseeing the distribution of assets and other important steps?
- What are your preferences for important health care matters that could be critical in case of incapacitation?
- Do you have minor kids who will need a guardian in the event of the death of both parents?
- Do you want a portion of your estate to go to charity?
- What do you want to happen to items of sentimental value in your estate?
The answers to these questions can help you understand the specific changes that may be most important. It is also critical to reorganize all documents and leave them in a place where your loved ones and the executor of your estate can locate them. You may also benefit from carefully discussing these changes with your heirs and beneficiaries so that they will have a clear understanding of your preferences and motivations. All of these steps will minimize the chance of complications over your estate after your passing.