In life, change is inevitable. Your estate plan may require updates to reflect those changes. Ensuring your estate plan documents remain relevant is the purpose of reviewing them each year. Here are important things to consider during your review.
Have you Updated Your Asset List?
One thing that many clients forget is to regularly update and maintain a list of their major assets. The list should include bank account information (name of the bank, account number, etc.) for each bank account that you own, information regarding any life insurance policies, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, stocks, etc. Likewise, it should list each piece of real estate that you own, including mineral interests. Keeping a list of this information accessible in your home makes it easier for the executor under your Will to identify your assets if you passed away unexpectedly. Just as it’s important to make the list, it’s also important to update the list annually so that your provide current information. We suggest that you pick a date every year that you prepare the update; for instance, what better way to celebrate the new year than to update your asset list on New Years’ Day?
Your estate plan should include a medical power of attorney. It’s a document for naming a designated agent who would make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. Likewise, a statutory durable power of attorney serves the same purpose for your financial decisions. If you don’t have these essential documents, your review is a good time to make an appointment with your estate planning attorney to create them. The Texas Legislature updates the forms of these documents every couple of years, so you should think about reviewing these documents every 4-6 years to make sure that they are updated.
Your review should include verifying you are still comfortable with the agents you’ve chosen. Also, it’s a good time to make sure they’re still willing and available to serve as your designated agent. For instance, an agent who has moved to another part of the country since you selected that individual may need to be replaced with someone who lives closer to you.
Coordination of the Estate Plan
Did you have a professional estate planning attorney assist you when you created your plan? If your estate plan has been a DIY project or the work of more than one law firm, contact us. We can coordinate your estate plan to prevent undesirable tax consequences and unintended beneficiaries.