Many of our clients have reached out to us in the past few weeks to discuss changes they want to make to their estate plans after taking their time at home to review them. Now is a good time to dust off your estate planning notebook and take a look at your current estate planning documents. Here are the top 5 things to look for when reviewing your estate plan.
Who are named as your Agents, Personal Representatives (Executors), and Trustees?
These roles are often filled by people you are close to and trust. Those people change over time. Make sure the people you name in your documents are still the people you want serving in those roles. For a refresher on what these people do, please see our To the Point brochures on Estate Planning and Probate.
Are the names of your family members correct?
Often, our clients execute their estate planning documents while their children are minors. Are your children’s names up to date and are they all included in your document? If not, this may also be a sign that it’s time to review beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement accounts.
How do you leave property to your beneficiaries?
Beneficiaries are the people who benefit under your Will or Revocable Trust. Do you leave your assets to your spouse, your children, other family members, or charities? Do you leave your assets to them outright or in trust?
Do the end of life decisions stated your Advance Medical Directive reflect your current wishes?
There are often life experiences that make us reconsider what health care we would like to receive at the end of our own lives. Do the wishes stated in your Advance Medical Directive reflect what you want now?
Do you have a Maryland Statutory Power of Attorney?
If you signed your estate planning documents before 2010, you likely do not have a Maryland Statutory Power of Attorney. There are additional protections for your agent provided by using this form and its use often makes it more likely to be accepted by third parties when needed, so your estate plan should include one.
For questions about this article, or any other estate planning matter, please contact an attorney in our Estate Planning practice group.