Is it time to stress test your estate plan?

stress-picIs it time to stress test your estate plan?   |  Encino Estate Attorneys

If you have a properly executed will or trust in place, good for you! You’ve taken a great step toward protecting your assets for future generations. But, establishing an estate plan is only the first step. You still need to make sure that your plan will stay rock solid by keeping it up to date.

With each life change you will need to adjust your estate plan accordingly. If you experience changes to your career, health, residence, family or even tax status, your estate plan can be derailed. In some cases, a change could create new opportunities that can help you increase your net worth.

As Encino estate attorneys, we don’t want you to spend an unreasonable amount of time continually reviewing your estate plan. A quick and easy way to determine whether you need to update your will or trust is to simply put your plan through the following “stress test.”

  1. Have there been any “big events” since your last updated your plan? – Most “big events” are related to your family; divorce, a new baby, a death. But a big event could also be business related and sometimes it’s not really big at all. For example, you may simply change your mind about the legacy you want to leave. If any of these have taken place in your life, consider it a trigger to look at your estate plan.
  2. Who is your named executor or trustee? – If you were to write a new estate plan today would you keep the same executor or trustee? If not, it’s time to update that plan.
  3. Have you reviewed your insurance plan? – Check your policy to see who you named as beneficiary and update that as needed.
  4. Have you entered into a joint property agreement with someone other than a spouse? – It’s not just property you own outright that should be in your estate plan. You should also include any property you jointly own with someone else.
  5. How is your record keeping? – It is important to stay organized so that your executor or trustee has a clear understanding of everything in your plan. If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed and reorganized your records, do so now!
  6. Has it been 3 years or more since you looked over your plan?- Even if nothing in your life has changed, it is important to at least review your plan with an experienced Encino estate planning attorney every three years because estate planning laws and rules are constantly shifting. Your  Encino estate planning attorney may be able to save your beneficiaries some trouble after your passing. Or, it is possible that you may be missing out on a benefit you didn’t even know existed.  Just make it a rule of thumb to calendar a plan review every 3-5 years to be safe.

Getting your estate plan done is a great way to protect your wealth and everyone you love. But, consider it a living organism that could shift and change over time. Give your plan regular stress tests and then call our Encino estate lawyers and make an appointment the moment you suspect changes are needed.

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