Estate Plan Review Guide

Estate Plan Review Guide

As one year ends and another begins, I recommend reviewing your estate plan. Especially if it’s been a few years since you’ve looked at your plan or had it updated.

Your estate plan should meet your goals in regards to distributing your assets, and appointing agents, representatives, and trustees to control your affairs if you should become incapacitated or die.

An estate plan should be simple to administer, keep assets out of probate, provide for minor children and family, as well as plan for incapacity. 

Read through the list of questions below. They are designed to be answered in the affirmative. If you find yourself saying, “No” a lot, it’s time to get your estate plan up-to-date.

Use the guide below to keep your estate plan up-to-date.

I. Review Your Powers of Attorney and Living Will

A. Financial Power of Attorney Review Questions

Your financial power of attorney gives someone the ability to make financial decisions for you if you are incapacitated.

  • Do you have one?
  • Who is nominated to serve as your agent?
    • Is she or he still willing and able to do so? 
  • Do you have at least one back-up agent?
    • Are they still willing and able to do so? 
  • When does the document become effective?
    • Immediately, or after a springing event?
      • Is this what you desire?
  • When was the document signed?
    • Was it signed and notarized less than 5 years ago?

B. Health Care Power of Attorney Review Questions

Your health care power of attorney gives someone the ability to make health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated.

  • Do you have one?
  • Who is nominated to serve as your agent?
    • Is she or he still willing and able to do so?
  • Do you have at least one back-up agent?
    • Are they still willing and able to do so?
  • When does the document become effective?
    • Immediately, or after a springing event?
      • Is this what you desire?
  • Does your health care power of attorney have a HIPAA release?
    • If not do you have a separate HIPAA release?
  • When was the document signed?
    • Was it signed, witnessed and notarized less than 5 years ago?

 C. Living Will

  • Do you have one?
  • Are the choices you selected regarding artificial nourishment and hydration the ones you desire?
  • Are the choices you selected regarding life sustaining procedures the ones you desire?
  • When was the document signed?
    • Was it signed, witnessed and notarized less than 5 years ago?

II. Review Your Will & Trust(s)

A. Will

A self-authenticating Will allows your estate to be probated informally rather than formally. As a result, this one document can save your family thousands in attorney fees, expenses, and time.

  • Do you have one?
  • Who is nominated to serve as your personal representative (executor)?
    • Is she or he still willing and able to do so?
  • Do you have at least one back-up personal representative (executor)?
    • Are they still willing and able to do so?
  • Are their any major family changes? (births, deaths, age, disability, finances)
    • Has your estate planning goals remained the same despite these changes?
  • Who is nominated as the guardian for your minor children?
    • Is she or he still willing and able to do so?
  • Have you planned for succession of your business interests?
  • When was the document signed?
    • Was it signed, witnessed and notarized less than 5 years ago?

B. Trust(s)

  • Do you have one?
  • Do you need one?
  • Is it funded?

III. Are Your Assets In Line With Your Estate Planning Documents

Not all your assets will be distributed through your will. Many of your assets will be distributed through titling or by contract.
This is the most commonly overlooked part of estate planning.

  • Are your beneficiary designations consistent with your will?
  • Are assets titled jointly?
  • Will any of your assets transfer through POD/TOD designations?
     

IV. Is All Your Estate Planning Information In a Safe Place

Keeping all your estate planning information in one place including:

  • a letter of last instruction,
  • a listing all your assets with account numbers,
  • your personal property memorandum,
  • names of your accountant, attorney, financial planner, insurance agent, and other professionals,
  • names and passwords for your social media accounts and digital assets, and
  • final arrangement information.

If you need help reviewing your estate plan, or if you need to get started on yours, contact the Law Office of Paul Miller LLC for a consultation. Email: paul@pmillerlawoffice.com Phone: (303) 900-2529

This article is for educational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice about your case or situation. There may be exceptions to the information outlined above. Please consult an attorney if you have specific questions about your estate plan. 

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