If you have an estate plan in place, now is an excellent time to review it and make sure that it is up to date. Estate planning attorneys recommend reviewing estate plans every five years and revising estate plans immediately upon the occurrence of life events like divorce, marriage, or the birth of a child. Here are a few suggestions on where to get started on your estate plan review. If your estate plan has documents beyond those listed here, be sure to check those, too.
Most estate plans contain at least a will, a health care directive, and a financial power of attorney. Check these three documents first. Your health care directive will require revision if you have changed your mind about what kinds of life-saving care you would want in an emergency, as well as your choice of agent or alternate agent who will make health care choices on your behalf if you are unable. Your financial power of attorney may need a change of agent or alternative agent if your previous agent or alternate agent has passed away. You may also need to change your agent if the person listed is no longer a person whom you would trust handling your finances if you cannot manage them on your own. Check your financial power of attorney carefully to ensure that it includes all of the information that your agent will need to manage your finances successfully.
When you update your will, remember to update the heirs mentioned in it. Some of them may no longer be living, and you may have additional heirs like children or grandchildren. Also, update your inventory of assets. You may have sold some of the things that are listed as assets in your original will. Those items should be removed from the will, and any additional bank accounts, financial assets, real estate, or other things that you have acquired since you last made or updated your will should be added to it. Remember to list the location of each asset in your will, along with its value, if possible. A list of your online accounts and passwords will also greatly assist your executor in carrying out their duties. Also, check that the people that you have named as your executor and the alternate executor are still living, and are the people whom you trust to carry out that duty.
If you have financial assets like life insurance or retirement plans, check the beneficiary designations on each of those assets that you currently hold. If changes are necessary, contact the companies that manage your financial assets and ask what you must do to change the beneficiary designation on each of them.
As you review your estate plan and decide what changes you would like to make, contact your estate planning attorney and talk with them about how you can make those changes. When your revised estate plan is complete, keep a copy of it somewhere safe and let your executor know where it is located. Also, let the agents named in your power of attorney and health care directive know where to find those documents so they can help you in an emergency.
If you have a Kansas estate plan that needs revision, Wichita attorney J. Joseph Weber is here to serve you. Please call our office at 316-265-7802, or contact us online to arrange a consultation to discuss your Kansas estate planning questions.