Many Louisiana residents sit down annually with their financial planner or investment professional to review their economic progress. Yet sometimes, these same people rarely update their estate plans. Regular review of your estate documents is crucial to realizing your final goals.
Why you need to review your estate plan periodically
Estate planning is uncomfortable for many people because it reminds them of their mortality. Others feel that they are too young to establish a plan, and once they do, it becomes tempting to file away the will, trusts and other related documents and forget about them. However, the longer you refrain from reviewing your documents, the more likely it is that they will be outdated and not reflect your current needs.
Most professionals recommend reviewing your documents every three to five years to ensure that everything is in order. By looking at beneficiary names, your will, durable powers of attorney for finance and healthcare and similar documents, you’ll catch potential problems, such as designees who may have passed away or become incapacitated, missing provisions for newly acquired assets and similar issues.
Modifying estate documents after significant life events is a good idea because these usually indicate that changes are necessary. Among the circumstances that necessitate change are:
- Birth or adoption of children
- Marriage or divorce
- Purchasing a home or other real estate
- A change in your financial status
- Death or disability of your spouse
- Changes in laws involving taxes and investments
Protecting your legacy
No two estate plans are alike because each is individualized to meet your needs. Over time, needs change, so you may require additional trusts or other estate planning tools to protect your legacy for your heirs. Your minor children may have grown and no longer need designated guardians, so you may need to provide for them differently.
When you review your estate plan, you may also discover that you still need essential documents. For example, while you may have a designated power of attorney for healthcare, you may not have indicated your end-of-life wishes. A periodic review allows you to correct those omissions and gives you peace of mind.