Like your car, your estate plan requires regular attention and maintenance. It’s a good idea to regularly review your plan, taking time to consider both the estate planning choices you’ve made and what changes have occurred in the past year. While you should contact your attorney for information about any relevant legal changes, there are some specific areas you may want to think about when you take the time to look your plan over.
While a lot of families create an estate plan to protect inheritances they want their children to receive, that doesn’t always guarantee those inheritances will be there. For example, if you created a plan that leaves your adult children direct inheritances, that may not be enough to protect those inheritances should your children go into bankruptcy, get divorced or get sued. Creating trusts to protect the inheritance both from outside forces and in a way that will provide your children support is one option you may want to consider.
Reviewing your will, advanced medical directives, and other estate planning elements may be easy to do, it’s also easy to forget the importance of reviewing your beneficiary designations for your life insurance, retirement plans and other assets. This is especially true if those assets have increased in value and you have used them as part of your inheritance plan. If you want to pass equal inheritances to beneficiaries and some assets have increased in value, you may need to adjust your plans to reflect the new reality.