7 Post Estate Planning Tips
By Solid Serenity Legal Solutions
You’ve done it! You created your estate plan! Now, it has been lying in a drawer somewhere, collecting dust. Congratulations on your great work. But, now you need to review them and make sure your plan still meets your goals. Here are 7 post estate planning care tips to make sure your plan always serves your needs and meets your family’s goals.
(1) Know Who Owns What
Most people’s goal in estate planning is to make sure their heirs have quick and easy access to their assets when they need it. You need to consider if assets should be jointly titled with someone else, if you need to make your representative a signer on your account, and if your bank accounts and other personal assets are titled into your trust. Knowing, and planning, for who owns what is a large part of your holistic estate plan.
(2) Review Your Beneficiaries
You likely have several assets that have beneficiary designations. The most common include retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and mutual funds. However, many institutions allow you to name payable on death beneficiaries on other kinds of accounts now as well.
Review your beneficiary designations every few years to ensure they are still accurate. The most common problem in beneficiary designation is when the owner passes, there is no surviving beneficiary named. Failing to name a proper beneficiary can land these assets in probate court, tying up your family’s money and time for months.
(3) Decide if You Should Name Your House Your Homestead
Designating your primary residence as a homestead can provide you with benefits. For instance, property taxes may cost less on homestead properties. However, a homestead has certain legal consequences for inheritance as well. Look into whether you should identify your primary residence as homestead property.
(4) Check Your Plan for Needed Changes
Big life changes happen. And, they affect your estate plan. Review your plan when marriage, divorce, birth, death, or other major occurrences happen in your family. Speak with your trusted estate planning attorney to make any needed changes to your plan.
(5) Plan for a Move
Though documents remain in effect when you move to a new state, it is always a good idea to have a local attorney check your documents to make sure they work well in your state. Different states have different rules and it is just easier for you and your family to update your documents to follow the new state’s rules so there is no issue when you need your documents the most.
(6) Keep Your Documents Safe
You want your documents to be safe and accessible. A good option is a fire-proof safe in your home that your representatives have knowledge of and keys to. If you choose to use a safe-deposit box, make sure your representatives are named as co-signors so they can get immediate access to the box. Though copies of documents are often acceptable, if you have a Will, it can be harder for your family to probate a copy than the original. So, it is always a good idea to keep your originals somewhere they are easy to access.
(7) Give Out Copies of Your Documents
You should have a copy of your estate plan, and, hopefully, a digital copy, to give to your representatives. If you prefer not to hand out copies, make sure your chosen people know their roles and where to find your info when they need it.
You have finished the hardest part in your estate planning journey- you actually made your plan! But, don’t let your plan fall apart by not taking proper care of it after you started. Check in with your estate planning attorney every few years to make sure your plan achieves your goals!