Traveling for the winter? Don’t forget to check on your legal documents! Traveling comes with risks, so give yourself the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your Estate Plan has you covered in case those “what-ifs” turn into reality. Don’t have an Estate Plan? Visit our website to schedule a consultation: https://elgestateplan.wpengine.com/schedule-an-appointment/
1. Update Your Estate Plan
Everyone needs to have fundamental Estate Planning documents in place. Your Estate Planning documents ensure that your voice is heard even when you are unable to speak for yourself, either due to death or incapacity. If you haven’t already done so, consider consulting with an Elder Law attorney to prepare a plan that includes a Will, a Trust, a Health Care Directive, and Durable Power of Attorney. To remain current with all of the changes in your life and the law, your Estate Planning documents should be reviewed every five years or so. Make sure you review these documents after major life events, such as marriages, births, or deaths. Also, your Estate Plan should also be reviewed if you move to a new state. The laws governing these Estate Planning documents vary from state to state: an Estate Plan drafted in one state may not produce the anticipated or desired outcome in another state. To learn more about when to review your Estate Plan, see our article here: https://elgestateplan.wpengine.com/is-it-time-to-review-your-estate-planning-documents/
2. Review your beneficiary designations
The beneficiary designations on your financial accounts should coordinate with your Will and are a critically important part of your Estate Plan. In addition to updating your Will, you should also periodically review your beneficiary designations to ensure that they still work with your Estate Plan. For example, have any of your beneficiaries married or changed their names? Have any of your beneficiaries passed away since your last review? Have you acquired more assets or opened new accounts? Make sure to let your Elder Law attorney know!
3. Organize and communicate
The best-drafted Estate Plan will have no effect if your family is unaware of or unable to find your documents when they need them. Use a safe deposit box or find a secure spot in your home for all of your important documents and information, including your Will, Trust and Powers of Attorney. Tell your family where these documents can be located. Be sure to distribute copies of your Powers of Attorney documents to your nominated agents so that they have immediate access to these documents in an emergency. Make sure to have a list of usernames and passwords for online accounts so that your authorized Agent can access them. Discuss your Estate Plan with your loved ones now, so that you can answer any questions they have about your wishes.
If you would like to learn more about how to plan now for your future and protect your assets, call our office today at (509) 468-0551. We would be delighted to speak with you.