It’s estate plan check-up time! When was the last time you had your estate plan go through routine maintenance?  Just like your car needs a full service check up at least every 30,000 miles to run at its absolute best, so does your estate plan.

Estate planning is not a one time event.  It should adjust over time to ensure your estate plan is current with life’s many changes. New beneficiaries?  Check.  Same agent and back up agents?  Check, check. California statute changes that impact your estate planning updated and incorporated? Check, check, check.

Most of us don’t take this step in our estate planning. Once we have completed it, we put it away and forget about it. This is despite the fact that there may have been significant changes that can alter the ultimate goals for our planning.  As a best practice, commit now to having your estate plan reviewed at least every three years.  During the intervening time, not only will the California statutes and law have changed, you may have significant changes in your life such as new family members born, loved ones who are no longer with us and changes to existing primary and secondary decision-makers.

What should you be looking for when you have a check-up?  Here are our top ten maintenance, check-up items you want to review and check-up on:

  1. Are your immediate family members the same?
  1. Have you had major births or deaths that impact your estate planning?
  1. Are your decision-makers the same?
  1. Did you name back up decision-makers?
  1. What is everyone’s current age?
  1. Has your work changed in any capacity?
  1. Do you receive any new benefits or have any been discontinued?
  1. Are you getting ready for a major purchase (like college tuition)?
  1. Has there been any significant change to you or a loved one’s health?
  1. Do you plan to make any sizeable gifts now or in the foreseeable future?

Taking care of our car, our kids and our work, are daily obligations for many of us.  We rotate our tires and pack lunches and buy school supplies and get our tasks done.  We do so many immediate things each and every day, it’s little wonder we often don’t have time to take a breath and remember to check-in on our estate plan.  Make sure to do it though because there can be bumps in the road ahead that we cannot anticipate and only the most current estate plan can handle.

Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an estate planning attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He is passionate about educating others about estate planning and how it can be used to protect what matters most. Subscribe to this blog or register for an upcoming FREE workshop to learn more.

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