If you have in the past visited a Brevard County estate planning attorney to create a plan for protecting your family and assets, you are probably ahead of the curve. However, personal financial advisers Kiplinger’s says that too many people will create such a plan and then essentially forget about it, even though there are significant changes in their families, finances and in the law since the plan’s creation.
Kiplinger’s recommends that everyone have, at a minimum, a will and a financial power of attorney and advanced medical directive. They also recommend that these be reviewed at least every decade and “subsequent to any major life event.”
Of course, it is also wise to review and revise your estate plan if you haven’t updated beneficiaries or executors since you first sat down with your attorney. There are often beneficiaries to add (grandchildren, for instance) or a change in executor needed because he or she is no longer able to perform those duties.
It’s crucial to keep the executor of the will current because if you don’t do it, a court will.
Kiplinger’s also says it makes sense to revisit your attorney if “you haven’t made plans for your personal effects.” Though this isn’t “as critical as other aspects of an estate,” they note that it can be a tremendous burden (and sow discord among family members) if you leave it up to beneficiaries to sort out what is to be done with personal items.
The company also advises people to consider the “significant benefits” of retirement savings inheritance through a beneficiary designation rather than leaving assets to your estate to be distributed by the terms of your will. You can help your heirs avoid probate (plus time and expense) through tax-advantaged accounts.
While these matters can be complicated, an experienced family law attorney understands them and can help you to understand your options and the benefits of each.
Contact Cantwell & Goldman, PA, to discuss the plan you have or the one you need.