Your estate plan should be reviewed periodically to make sure that it is “evergreen” — that it accurately reflects your life circumstances and preferences. Here are a few questions you can answer to complete your estate planning check-up:
- Do you have a will or trust?
- Do you need to make changes to your will or trust because your family circumstances have changed (death, birth, marriage, divorce, incapacity)?
- If you have a trust, have your assets been placed in the trust? Of special note, if you refinanced real estate and your lender required you to take your property out of the trust, has the property been placed back into the trust?
- Is your estate plan outdated (for example, does it include provisions for minors that are now adults)?
- Does your estate plan take into account beneficiaries with current problems (substance abuse, creditor problems, marital obligations, or physical/mental disabilities)?
- Did you launch a new business venture which requires business succession planning?
- Should you plan to gift property to your beneficiaries now to avoid liabilities (for example, transferring ownership of a car to your young adult), estate taxes, or family feuds?
- Are the beneficiary designations on your bank accounts, investment accounts, and insurances up to date?
- Have you reviewed your credit profile to make sure you have not been a victim of identity theft?
- Is the State of California holding any unclaimed property for you? (Check out website http://scoweb.sco.ca.gov/ucp).
- Are your property, liability, medical, and disability insurances adequate?
- If you are a beneficiary of someone else’s estate, is appropriate action being taken to preserve your interests, such as the initiation of a probate proceeding to change the title to property?
© 2011 by Marlene S. Cooper. All rights reserved.