Insure, Protect and Maintain Your Estate Plan
I am what some might call a “shopaholic” and over the last several decades I have accumulated a bunch of stuff. I sometimes wonder what it would be like not to have to be concerned with the responsibility of having so much because anything you have of value requires a lot from you. You have to insure it, protect it, and maintain it. Having an estate plan is just as bad. I wish I could tell a person that making an estate plan is like taking a vacation: you plan it, do it, and then enjoy great memories. Unfortunately, I would probably lose my license if I told people that because the truth is that an estate plan is another valuable asset you have to be responsible for.
You should treat your estate plan like you treat all of your other valuables: you should insure it, protect it, and maintain it. You insure it by putting it in writing. You may have told your family what your desires are, but putting them in writing is great insurance that your plans will be carried out. You have to protect your estate plan by keeping all of the original documents in a safe place, one that your successor agents or beneficiaries know about. Maintaining the estate plan is perhaps the most difficult task because changes in our circumstances and/or relationships often require us to make changes to our estate plan. Births, deaths, divorces, marriages, physical relocations, changing relationships with agents or beneficiaries, and changes in health or finances are reasons to update (maintain) an estate plan.
If you don’t have an estate plan, you have one less thing to worry about. In fact, you can be assured that the State of California has a plan to take care of everything for you when the time comes. © 2013 by Marlene S. Cooper. All rights reserved.