Many people find that the end of the year is a good time to review their estate plan and make changes where necessary. This is because a plan that was sufficient a few years ago (or even yesterday) may no longer be appropriate today. Thus, it is important to review your estate planning documents at least every 3-5 years to make sure that they are accurate, reflect your current wishes and are still effective. An estate plan should be reviewed more frequently when changes in the law or life circumstances dictate such a review.
Take a moment to look back and examine the important events the occurred during the year. Life changing events such as a marriage, birth, death, or illness should be given special attention. Likewise, a change in financial status, residency, or the applicable law can all necessitate a revision to an estate plan. Life insurance policies, retirement benefits, and POD accounts should also be reviewed to ensure that the proper beneficiaries are designated and that steps have been taken to remove these assets from the reach of creditors as well as the tax collector.
When updating your documents, you should consider not only the property and assets that are being distributed, but also the people involved. Carefully consider beneficiaries as well as people with whom you have entrusted other responsibilities, including the personal representative of your will, trustee of a trust, power of attorney, and guardian of your children. Oftentimes, as children age and mature, they are chosen to replace other friends and family members in many of these administrative roles.
An outdated estate plan can cause a myriad of problems at the worst possible time. This is why it is important to take a moment to review your documents and ensure that everything is according to your wishes, particularly as affected by the past year’s events. You should also have your documents periodically reviewed by a Florida estate planning attorney, to ensure compliance with all current legal requirements. If you need assistance with your estate plan, contact an Attorney in Jacksonville who can help you today.