Spring is traditionally a time for cleaning and organizing our homes. Reviewing and organizing our estate plan is one of the critical steps we should take to make sure that our financial home is in order:
1. Review Your Existing Estate Plan
Review your existing plan documents in light of any new events that have occurred over the previous year. Milestone moments are great times to ask your attorney to review your estate plan to make sure that the plan continues to capture your intention and reflects your lifestyle.
Perhaps it is time to consider consulting with an attorney to determine if estate planning is needed. Maybe you recently married, welcomed a new baby, or are caring for an ailing parent. Transitional moments trigger the evaluation of whether an estate plan is needed.
2. Create a Life Manual
Consider organizing your estate planning documents into what I like to call a “Life Manual.” This manual should include estate planning documents; vital record documents such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, social security number cards, etc. Any important documents that an executor or surviving spouse would need to refer in order to settle your estate should go into your Life Manual.
Review your Manual at tax time to make sure if updates or changes are needed.
3. Estate Planning Isn’t Just a Will
Estate planning isn’t just a will. Estate planning includes living trust documents or beneficiary designations for life insurance policies or retirement accounts.
Review these documents with professionals to determine if these documents reflect your intentions and current lifestyle. Speak to a financial planner, insurance agent, accountant, and attorney regarding these documents and whether changes are needed.
Please consider adding, reviewing, and updating your estate planning documents to your spring cleaning task list so you can enjoy a clean and tidy financial home.