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The Checklist – Updating and Maintaining your Estate Planning Documents

Are your affairs in order?  Or, is it time to update your estate planning documents?  The rule of thumb calls for reviewing your plan every 3-5 years or when there is a “life event.” Life events include marriages, deaths, births, changes in financial status, and changes in the tax laws.  What should you be looking for when reviewing your plan?


  1. Does your plan still meet your current goals and objectives?  In other words, have “life events” changed your goals?
  2. Do your beneficiary designations match your plan?  For example, do you have a testamentary trust for your children in your Will that should be funded with life insurance, but you have not updated your beneficiary designation to reflect that change.
  3. Are the guardians you appointed for your minor children still the right fit?
  4. Do you have the most current Durable Power of Attorney?  If your power of attorney for financial matters pre-dates 2017,  you most likely need an updated power of attorney.
  5. Are your accounts all titled properly?  For example, do you have accounts you own jointly that should be held individually in order to accomplish your overall estate planning goals?
  6. Is your real estate titled properly?  Do you need to revisit titling legacy property (e.g. the family ranch, farm, mountain house) in an entity or trust?
  7. Do you need to take another look at the people you have nominated to serve as Executor and Trustee under your Will?
  8. Does your Will need to be updated to include new trusts or tax planning strategies?  Be sure to keep an eye out for changes in the tax laws that may affect your plan after the 2020 election.
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