I hope this finds you well and enjoying life.
You should be proud of yourself when you have all of your estate planning components in place. In Louisiana, the four basic components are a will, power of attorney, medical power of attorney and a living will. Proper estate planning puts worries to rest and your family at ease knowing the details involved in your passing are in order. It is one of the greatest gifts you can provide your family and they will thank you and your memory long after you’re gone.
While it’s appropriate to celebrate getting the estate planning components in place, estate planning has a life of its’ own. It doesn’t require the same care and attention as raising children or even your garden, but it does require routine maintenance every few years to make sure its’ current and as valid as the day you put the components in place. I recommend that every five years or after a major life event you should review your estate planning documents and make changes where necessary. This includes:
Marriage / Divorce
Birth of a child / When children are no longer minors
Relocation to another state or country
Death of a spouse/family member
Care required for special needs dependent or family member
Term expiration for Life Insurance policy
Major purchase or sale (homes, property, business)
Personal factor/changes (falling out with family, becoming passionate about a cause or charity, etc…)
Even if none of these life events occur, a person should make sure everything is up-to-date, easy for their family and loved ones to locate, and in the proper order every five years.
The most important things to review are the people you’ve named to either carry out specific duties or those who’ll receive benefits. Are these people still alive, in your life, and trustworthy? Are your kids old enough to take on some of these tasks? Here is a checklist/questionnaire to make the process quick and easy.
Are you still pleased with your choices for Executor and Guardians?
Have you accounted for the correct assets?
Are you still happy with the allocation or do you need to make some adjustments to your inheritors/beneficiaries?
Does your family / loved ones know where to find your Will?
Are you still pleased with your choice of Health Care Proxy?
Does the person know what you want?
Does your family / loved ones have the contact information for the following:
Other professionals from which you seek guidance and expertise
Have you shared your online/digital passwords with someone you trust?
Having your final affairs in order and complete is the mark of a life well-lived. Always remember that the best time to handle any out of order details regarding your estate is yesterday. And so, if you have a little work to do, get going with it 😊! Chances are it may lead to happiness for the most important people in your life.
If you have questions about your estate plan or anything else related to your retirement world don’t hesitate to call us.
Jeff Christian CFP, CRPC