Before the craziness of the holidays, take some time to consider this short checklist to ensure your estate plan is in order as 2016 draws to a close:
1. Is your estate plan signed? If you’ve taken the leap and met with an attorney to draft your estate plan, that’s terrific! But, if it’s not yet signed, it’s not yet effective. Schedule your signing appointment now!
2. Review your guardian and conservator designations for your children. Is the person(s) you chose to care for your children in the event of your incapacity or death still the best person for the job? Perhaps now that your children are older, there is someone more suitable. Maybe the person you chose has had changes in their situation. What things look like today may be very different from what they looked like when your estate plan was created.
3. Consider the changes you’ve experienced since you first created an estate plan. What year was your estate plan signed? Since that year, have you had any changes in circumstances? Has your family changed? Are there more children, step-children, adoptions? Have the relationships within your family changed? Has there been a death or divorce in the family? Has your financial picture changed? These events may change what your estate plan looks like.
4. Have your children reached majority? As we have discussed recently in another email blast, once a child turns 18, they should have basic estate planning documents in place.
5. Has it been 5 years or more since your estate plan was signed? Laws are changing all of the time and even if your particular situation has been somewhat stable, it’s possible that the laws affecting your estate plan haven’t. Schedule a review of your estate plan to see if anything needs to be updated in response to legal changes.
6. Have you talked to your family or loved ones about your plan? While estate planning may not be the most upbeat, exciting topic for your holiday dinner table, don’t count it out entirely. December may be the only time that you see certain people throughout the year, and it’s often the time when everyone is together. In our experience, the more information your family has about your wishes, the more at peace they will be with those wishes once they need to be put in place.
Our attorneys are standing by to assist with any estate planning questions or needs you may have!