Estate Plan Review Checklist
Twenty points to help ensure your legacies stay on track.
A well-executed estate plan is like a finely-tuned machine, requiring regular maintenance to ensure seamless operation in the face of life's uncertainties. Your clients' estate plans should be revisited every year or two to ensure it's still aligned with their current circumstances and intentions. This article presents a comprehensive checklist to guide you through the captivating process of reviewing client estate plans.
1. Updated Information
First things first, it's crucial to keep all the vital information in an estate plan up to date. Double-check contact details, beneficiary information and the specifics of appointed representatives. Maintaining current information is not only essential but ensures the flawless execution of the plan.
2. Legal Documents
Ensure the legitimacy of your legal documents, including your will, trusts and power of attorney. Safeguarding a legacy hinges on these documents' legal soundness.
3. Beneficiaries and Distribution of Assets
Take a closer look at your beneficiaries and how you envision the distribution of your assets. Life's twists and turns, such as births, deaths, marriages and divorces, may necessitate adjustments in beneficiary choices.
4. Executor, Trustee and Guardian Appointments
Confirm that the individuals appointed to fulfill your wishes are still willing and capable of carrying out their roles.
5. Guardianship for Minor Children
If you have minor children, it's essential to revisit your choice of a guardian. Ensure that the selected guardian is still the best fit for the children's well-being.
6. Assets and Liabilities
Update your list of assets to incorporate any recent acquisitions and account for outstanding debts or liabilities. A comprehensive inventory is key to an organized estate plan.
7. Digital Assets and Online Accounts
In this digital age, don't overlook your online presence. Consider how to manage or transfer digital assets, such as social media accounts and cryptocurrency wallets.
8. Business Interests
If your are a business owner or have business interests, review the plan for managing or transferring these assets to ensure they align with your current intentions.
9. Healthcare Directives
Review healthcare directives, including living wills and healthcare proxies, to ensure they still accurately reflect your medical wishes.
10. Power of Attorney
Evaluate your choices for financial and legal power of attorney (even if it's you), making any necessary changes to ensure that your affairs will be managed according to your preferences.
11. Charitable Contributions
Confirm that the charitable organization(s) you selected still align with your values and intentions for any planned donations.
12. Estate Tax Considerations
Stay informed about changes in tax laws (even if just the very basics) that might affect you estate and consider (or team up with another professional, your financial planner, CPA, and estate planning attorney to determine) any potential impact on the plan.
13. Real Estate and Property Ownership
Verify the details of property ownership and how you plan to transfer or bequeath real estate within your estate plan.
14. Long-Term Care Planning
If you have made provisions for long-term care, assess their relevance and effectiveness in light of any changes in your health or circumstances.
15. Family Dynamics
Consider any shifts in family dynamics or relationships (births, death, marriage, divorce) that might necessitate adjustments to the estate plan.
16. Estate Planning Goals
Revisit your overarching goals and objectives to ensure that your estate plan still aligns with your vision for the future.
17. Legal and Financial Professionals
Ensure that any professionals who assisted in creating your estate plan are still available and well-suited to your needs.
18. Witnesses and Signatures
Verify that all necessary signatures and witnesses are in place on your legal documents.
19. Review Schedule
Establish a routine for reviewing your estate plan going forward, whether annually or every few years, to keep it current with your evolving life circumstances and any legal changes.
20. Communicate Changes
Finally, once you have updated your estate plan, communicate these changes to relevant parties, including family members, beneficiaries and appointed representatives.
Estate planning is an ever-evolving process that requires attention. Regular reviews will ensure that your plan remains in sync with your life and accurately reflects your wishes. Consider consulting with other professionals, such as your financial advisor, CPA, estate planning attorney to help effectively navigate this essential task. Your legacy deserves nothing less.
Charles C. Scott AIF®, CDP®
ACCREDITED INVESTMENT FIDUCIARY® / CERTIFIED DEMENTIA PRACTITIONER®
Source: Wealth Management, September 2023
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all estate plan document). The same is true when it comes to retirement planning and Long-Term Care insurance solutions. Everyone has their own challenges and a unique set of circumstances to consider. That’s why it’s so important to have a specific financial plan in place for you and your family, custom-made for your legacy. Feel free give me a call at 480-513-1830 or schedule a time to chat via my calendar, Chat With Charles.
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