Alright. You’ve gotten through your steps. You’ve executed your plan and you even are keeping up on it by thinking through how each new asset should be titled to work with your plan. Now you can be a bit on autopilot. If you get hit by lighting… you know you’re “good”.
So when should you think about it again. Well, the final step to having an efficient plan is to update as your life and the law shifts.
STEP 6 – UPDATE
As your life shifts, the to-do list you will leave naturally shifts. Sometimes, the to-do list will become more complicated than it was before and sometimes it will get less complicated. Sometimes the law has changed to make that to-do list more or less complicated. As you go through life changes, go back to your estate planning attorney to review the plan and related documents in light of how your to-do list shifted. At the same time, the attorney can review the plan in light of changes in the law.
This doesn’t necessarily mean your documents changes. Well drafted documents anticipate foreseeable changes and already discusses what happens when those changes come up. That’s one of the big reasons to work with a professional when getting the documents done, people who have been to the rodeo. We’re already thinking about what happens next, what could happen, and our documents reflect that.
Okay. So what kind of major events trigger an update? Well the major thing that complicate your to-do list is becoming an adult, acquiring assets, marriage, having kids, building wealth, and the reverse of any of that. Okay you’ll always be and adult and lord willing and the creek don’t rise, you’re kids will be around for as long as you will, but when your kids become adults, your to-do list will no longer include figuring out how to care for them. As soon as you become an adult, no one else has a right to help you if you become incapacitated unless you arrange it. As you age, the likelihood of you being incapacitated might increase.
So. As these things happen. Go back for an update. At the same time, your lawyer can let you know of any legal changes and either let you know if your current documents still help minimize your to-do list or make new documents.
So there you have it. The six steps that I’ve seen people, usually unknowingly, take that makes their estate planning efficient. By that, I mean they have a plan correctly understand that estate planning is just thinking through what the legal to-do list will be when they die, have taken the right steps to reduce the to-do list and adjust as their assets, circumstances, and law changes.
Estate Planning Steps Infograph