Creating an estate plan is an important part of protecting your family and securing the assets you intend to leave your heirs. It is also something that must be completed if you have any specific final wishes that you want carried out. However, creating an estate plan is not something that can be done once and forgotten about. Any estate plan that is made should be updated on a regular basis to ensure no major life changes were overlooked. The following tips will help you when the time to review your existing plan arrives.
Make it an Annual Task
While some recommend reviewing your estate plan every few years, it is a good idea to make reviewing your plan a task that you complete annually. Reviewing your existing estate plan each year gives you an opportunity to add any newly acquired assets to the plan, take new laws into account, or remove items that are no longer yours to disburse. Having an estate plan that gives an inaccurate account of your existing assets creates problems for your executor and can prolong the probate process. Taking a few hours to review everything in your plan once each year will help you identify issues that need to be discussed with your attorney.
Do Not Make Changes Alone
When you identify errors or omissions do not start making written changes by yourself. Making quick addendums might be tempting, but it can lead to questions regarding the legitimacy of your will at a later date. If your documents are filled with notes, changes, and contradictions, your beneficiaries may have a difficult time interpreting what your actual final wishes were. Some may even use the confusing documentation style as an excuse to challenge your will or claim that your estate plan is invalid.
Remember to Review All Documents
An estate plan usually consists of powers of attorney, life insurance policy designations, and much more. When you are reviewing your plan, make sure you check each document individually. Forgetting to update the designations on life insurance policies, having the wrong person appointed as your representative on your power or attorney, or not documenting newly opened account can all lead to chaos in the future. Checking each document that is part of your plan in its entirety will reduce the number of issues caused by oversights that your executor later must manage.
Consult an Attorney
If you need help updating your legal documents, contacting an estate planning attorney should be your first step. A qualified attorney can discuss your unique needs and provide insight regarding the best ways to keep your plan updated. The team at MMZ Law understand how important protecting your legacy is and will work with you to ensure that your final wishes are communicated effectively. We can help you review your estate plan on a regular basis and make sure any changes you need are in accordance with California state law. Contact our Claremont, California office to schedule an initial consultation today so that we can begin providing you with the legal representation you deserve.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
MMZ LAW, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711
MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.
This information is educational information only and not legal advice.