Many people in Ohio want to think about estate planning all at once and then set those documents aside for the future. Going over one’s estate plan can be practically and emotionally difficult for many people. However, in order to ensure that one’s assets are protected and loved ones properly taken care of, it can be important to perform a regular review of the documents, including wills, trusts and non-probate items, that comprise a person’s estate plan.
Every estate plan should contain a will, an advanced medical directive and a financial power of attorney; in order to ensure that these are accurate and reflect the latest changes in law as well as significant life events, it is important to review these estate planning essentials with a lawyer every 10 years or after major events like marriage, divorce or the birth of a child or grandchild. Many people may not realize that they need to update these documents to add additional beneficiaries or remove beneficiaries from past relationships; taking care of this can avoid unpleasant surprises for loved ones after death.
It can be similarly important to thoroughly review life insurance and other policies that transfer outside of probate. Beneficiaries should be up to date and reflect a person’s current close relationship; many people have received the life insurance policies of former spouses because beneficiaries were never updated. If a person has moved, it can be important to review wills and trusts as many states have differing laws that cover estate planning issues.
There are other major issues that can be important when reviewing critical documents, including changes to tax laws and increases in the estate tax exemption. An estate planning attorney may be able to perform a thorough review of existing wills and trusts as well as develop new documents that address additional concerns and provide the protection your loved ones need.