Year 2020 definitely brought a lot of changes in all of our lives. As we enter Spring of 2021 and annual spring cleaning, we cannot neglect a quick look at our Estate Plans. As you look back on 2020, what changes need to be reflected in your estate plan? Have you gotten married or divorced in the past year? Perhaps you have welcomed a new child or grandchild, or experienced a change in your health. So much can change in a year, especially in a year like 2020, and it is important not to let too much time pass before those changes are reflected in your plan.
Just like you need to stay in regular contact with financial advisors, primary health care providers, and accountants, your estate plan will serve you best when it is kept up to date with the changes that shape your life. Keeping your estate plan current with each new significant development in your life is much more efficient than having to do a comprehensive overhaul later on. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to take stock of any changes regarding the individuals listed in your estate planning like fiduciaries or beneficiaries.
Your End-of-Year Checklist
Many people find that estate planning — whether it is embarking on creating a new plan or updating an existing one — can feel overwhelming. A checklist cuts through the mental clutter and allows you to focus on the most important decisions so you can protect yourself and your family. Use this handy checklist to prioritize your time.
- Has your family welcomed any new children or grandchildren?
- Has anyone named as a fiduciary (successor trustee, agent, or health care agent) in your plan passed away this year?
- Have you gotten married?
- Has this year involved a divorce for you or any of your fiduciaries or beneficiaries?
- Have you changed your preference about who is listed as a trustee?
- Have you changed your preference about who is listed as an agent?
- Have you changed your preference about who is listed as a health care proxy?
- Do you want to change who is appointed as your children’s guardian?
- Is there a pet caretaker you would like added or removed?
- Have you had a significant increase or decrease in your net worth?
- Have you changed jobs or purchased a business?
- Did you move to a new home?
- Did you sign your will or trust before 2016?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” your estate plan requires our attention soon. As we head into spring, start 2021 off on the right foot by taking a few moments to see what projects you should prioritize.