Reviewing Your Estate Plan

Now that we have entered 2014, you may or may not still be keeping your New Year’s resolutions. Hopefully, your resolutions are going strong and you have developed great habits throughout your life. However, if you have already slipped back into the habit of eating a little more junk food than you planned on doing, that does not mean that you should give up on all of your plans for this year. Similarly, you should resolve to review your estate planning documents. There are a number of reasons why you should periodically review your estate planning documents. Doing so can make sure that you are set for 2014 and beyond.

Reviewing Your Will Following Major Life Changes

It is always important to review your will following any of your major life changes. Whether you recently had a child, got married, or lost a loved one, each of these major life events can impact your will. As a result, you should review your will for any potential updates that need to be made.  If you’ve recently had or adopted a child, you should update your will. Similarly, if you have gotten married, you will want to add your spouse to your will.

When reviewing your will, you should also make sure that anyone listed in your will has not undergone a major life change. If you have listed an individual as your executor or personal representative and that person is no longer able to perform those duties due to whatever reason, you should update your will to ensure that a new executor is listed. Reviewing your will periodically for any potential changes is a great habit to develop.

Review Your Appointment of a Health Care Agent and Living Will

Both an Appointment of a Health Care Agent and a Living Will are essential estate planning documents that should be reviewed periodically. An Appointment of a Health Care Agent designates an individual who can make decisions on your behalf if you were ever incapacitated due to illness, accident, etc. You want to make sure that the person you have listed is willing and capable to serve in this role.

A Living Will is a document that sets forth your wishes for any potential end of life care. There are a number of situations in which you may want actions to either be taken or not be taken. For example, you may choose to have life support withheld due to your condition. However, if you ever have a change of heart as to what type of care that you may want, it is very important that you update your document accordingly. For those very reasons, it is critical that you periodically review your Appointment of a Health Care Agent and Living Will.

Review Any Beneficiary Designations

Although you may have reviewed and updated all of your estate planning documents, it is equally important to review any beneficiary designations that you may have for any accounts. These beneficiary designations will take precedent over anything otherwise designated in your will. When you have a listed beneficiary, that particular asset will transfer ownership upon a person’s death. This transfer occurs outside any probate court proceeding. Reviewing any listed beneficiaries is an important step often overlooked.

If you have questions about any other estate planning tips, be sure to contact our team of Nashville estate planning lawyers. At The Higgins Firm, our Tennessee wills attorneys would be happy to answer any of the questions that you may have.