The documents that make up your estate plan should be living documents that evolve and change with you. It’s best to review your plan at least every 5 years or whenever you or one of your beneficiaries has a major life event, including marriage, a new child, divorce, inheritance, or death.
Here are 10 topics to address when updating your estate plan:
DISTRIBUTION OF YOUR ESTATE
- Whether your plan still distributes your assets according to your current wishes.
- Distribution provisions for your spouse or partner.
- Distribution provisions for your children. Do you want your assets to pass outright to your children, or would you prefer that some or all assets stay in trust for a certain amount of time? If a continuing trust is used, do you want distributions to be staggered over time? Do you want the trust drafted to protect assets from children’s future creditors or a potential future divorcing spouse?
- If you want to have a trust for grandchildren as part of your estate plan.
- Whether special needs trust provisions are needed for a disabled beneficiary to maintain eligibility for public benefits.
- Your choices for Personal Representative and Successor Trustee and if they need to be changed.
PLANNING FOR INCAPACITY
- Whether your Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy need to be updated. Also determine who you want to be your agents in these documents and choose alternate agents.
TITLING AND BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS
- Titling and beneficiary designations for all assets and accounts.
- Which assets you want to be owned by your Revocable Trust and how to transfer ownership of assets into the name of the Trust or make the Trust a transfer-on-death beneficiary.
- Beneficiary designation for retirement accounts. Do you wish to leave retirement accounts directly to your spouse and/or children or instead to your Revocable Trust? Also, see if your Revocable Trust qualifies for the maximum payout period for a beneficiary under the SECURE Act.
For help creating or updating your estate plan, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC at 708 482 7090 for our main office in LaGrange, Illinois or at 847 656 8958 for our Northbrook, Illinois office.