It’s probably been a while since you looked at your estate planning documents. If it’s been five years or longer, the experts say that you need to drag out those papers and go through them because you can’t trust your memory about what they contain.
A lot can happen in five years. Maybe you married. Maybe you had children. Maybe you divorced. Maybe you had a falling out with your best friend or favorite organization. Maybe you took up a cause. With all that in mind, here’s what to review:
- Your will: Does it still allocate your assets the way that you’d prefer? How have your relationships with your heirs changed? Is there anyone who needs to be added to your list of heirs?
- Your trust: Trusts aren’t just for the ultra-rich, these days. If you don’t have one, you should find out if one would suit your needs. If you do have one, make sure that changes in the laws surrounding trusts won’t undo your good intentions.
- Your powers of attorney: Is the person (or people) you put in charge of your financial and medical decisions still right for the job? Do they still live close enough to be available in an emergency? Have you discussed your wishes with them?
- Your burial plans: It can save your heirs a lot of stress and confusion if you leave your wishes in writing.
- Your electronic assets: You should also leave behind your passwords and electronic records to make sure that your executor has access to everything they need to handle your estate.
You may also want to add some codicils to your will that will clarify how certain family heirlooms or personal items will be distributed.
Updating your will can be time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Find out more about your legal options today.