Can Your Estate Plan Handle the Stress?

So you’ve done the hard work of establishing an estate plan.  Now you want to make sure that the strategy you’ve selected will maximize your peace of mind and protect your legacy.

Here are 5 “stress test” questions to assess whether you might need to update your estate plan:

  1. When was the last time you updated your will or revocable trust? Since then, have you had new children or gotten divorced? Have you moved to a new state, opened or sold a business, or just changed your mind about the type of legacy you want to leave behind? Especially if big, tangible life events have occurred, strongly consider updating your documents as soon as possible against all else.
  2. Who have you named as executor and trustee? If you had to start your planning over from scratch today, would you still make the same decisions? If not, why not?
  3. Do you have adequate insurance? Many people do not have enough insurance for themselves or their businesses. They also fail to name contingent beneficiaries. Get your insurance policies in order.
  4. How much of your property is jointly owned with someone other than your spouse? Jointly owned property has the potential to be double taxed. Take a look at your real property and seek advice on the proper adjustments to make in order to save on taxes when it’s really necessary to save on taxes.
  5. When was the last time you gave your plan a thorough once-over? Even if nothing “huge” has happened in your life recently, if it’s been over five years since a qualified estate planning attorney has assessed your strategy, schedule a time to meet. Identify any issues, and iron out the kinks one at a time.

 

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