Review estate plans regularly to keep them current

Estate planning is more than a one-time event in which a person writes a will and gives a power of attorney to a trusted relative or friend. To be most effective, California individuals should review their estate plan on an annual basis to ensure that the decisions they made when they signed the documents are still in line with their current wishes. There are a few times in a person’s life that it is important to review an estate plan and make necessary changes.

An estate plan should always be reviewed when a close family member who was listed as a beneficiary, trustee or representative dies or when someone becomes unable to perform the duties required of them. It’s important to have trusted family members or friends who are willing and able to serve as executor and under a power of attorney.

A person may want to consider revising their estate plan when they get divorced. Failing to revise a health care or financial power of attorney can leave someone’s former spouse or former in-laws in charge of important decisions. By reviewing the documents regularly and especially after important life events, a will and power of attorney designations can remain current.

Taking the time to review these legal forms can ensure that a person’s wishes are carried out as they would have done themselves if they were able. If it is ever necessary to change documents to appoint a new executor or trustee, an attorney who focuses on estate planning may be able to help a client make the adjustments and explain to the newly designated representatives what their role will be in the event the client dies or becomes incapacitated.

Source: Explorer News, “Six reasons to take a fresh look at your estate plan“, June 25, 2014