It is a good idea to routinely review an estate plan to ensure it is up-to-date. Life changes which means that parts of an estate plan may need to be updated as well. It is helpful for estate planners to know what components of their estate plan they should consider reviewing.
Power of attorney and healthcare proxy
It is a good idea to take a second look, and a third and a fourth over time, at the estate planner’s power of attorney and healthcare proxy documents. These documents designate trusted individuals to handle the estate planner’s financial affairs and medical care. Because of that, the estate planner should ensure the named individuals are trustworthy and reliable and it is a good idea to designate a back-up individual or individuals.
Review the will
The estate planner’s will should be routinely reviewed. One aspect of the will that the estate planner should look at is the designation of executors, guardians and beneficiaries in the will and make any changes as needed. It is important that beneficiaries are clearly identified. Because the executor may be required to manage the entire estate, it is also important that they are reliable and trustworthy and it may also be a good idea to name a back-up executor. The guardian’s role is no less important and that selection may also need to be reviewed.
Review the trust
If the estate planner included a trust, they should also review key provisions of the trust. To avoid cost and hassle during a difficult time, the estate planner should ensure the trust is funded. The estate planner can also determine a schedule for distributions and the identify the beneficiaries to receive them. The estate planner should also review the trustee designation and update it if needed.
Estate planners should also make any regular changes as needed to beneficiary designations, especially if major relationships in their life change, and ensure their estate plan takes advantage of any available estate tax benefits. Conducting an estate plan review is an important part of the estate planning process and estate planners should know what to watch for.