Wills & Trusts

Periodic Review of Your Estate Plan

 

Periodic Review of Your Estate PlanAn estate plan is a map that explains how you want your personal and financial affairs to be handled in the event of your incapacity or death. It allows you to control what happens to your property if you die or become incapacitated. An estate plan should be reviewed periodically.

 

When should you review your estate plan?

Although there’s no hard-and-fast rule about when you should review your estate plan, the following suggestions may be of some help:

  • You should review your estate plan immediately after a major life event
  • You’ll probably want to do a quick review each year because changes in the economy and in the tax code often occur on a yearly basis
  • You’ll want to do a more thorough review every five years

Reviewing your estate plan will alert you to any changes that need to be addressed.

There will be times when you’ll need to make changes to your plan to ensure that it still meets all of your goals. For example, an executor, trustee, or guardian may die or change his or her mind about serving in that capacity, and you’ll need to name someone else.

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What do I need to do to create a will?

 
What do I need to do to create a will?A will is a legal document that is generally used to describe how you want your estate to be distributed after your death. It might also be used to name an executor for your estate or a guardian for your minor children. It is generally a good practice to name backup beneficiaries, executors, and guardians just in case they are needed. Even though it’s not a legal requirement, a will should generally be drafted by an attorney.

In order to make a will, you must be of legal age (18 in most states). You must also understand what property you own, who the family members or friends it would seem natural to leave property to are, and who gets what under your will.

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How do I change or revoke a will?

 
How do I change or revoke a will?Your will does not take effect until you die. You can create a new will or revoke or amend an existing will up until your death.

A will remains valid until properly revoked or superseded. Revoking your will must be done very carefully. Most state laws require that the will be revoked by a subsequent instrument (a new will) or by a physical act (e.g., destroying or defacing it). This means the will must either be burned, torn, or canceled with the intent to revoke. You might, for example, write REVOKED across the will and sign and date the revocation.

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