Many adults in New Jersey have taken the time to go through the estate planning process. They did so to ensure that they, their loved ones and their assets are protected in the event of their incapacitation or death. Unfortunately, some of these individuals have likely not reviewed their estate plans in some time, meaning they could be out of date. Reviewing an estate plan every few years or after a major life event is recommended to ensure it offers the protection one desires.
There are several parts of an estate plan that require review every so often. To start, one may want to look at health care proxy and power of attorney designations. The individual or individuals assigned to these roles should be someone one can trust to act in one’s best interests. If the person or persons currently designated no longer meets that requirement, it is time to make a change.
Next, looking over the will is a good idea. Is the person assigned as the executor still a good choice? Is there a guardian named for any minor children? Are beneficiaries and what they are to receive clearly identified? If the answer is no to any of these questions, it is time to update the will.
Those who have trusts may want to look over the terms, as well as the beneficiary and trustee designations. One will also want to make sure the trust is funded — believe it or not, this is something many people fail to do, which renders the trust useless. Finally, one will want to ensure all available tax benefits are taken advantage of.
An estate plan that is out of date is not necessarily useless, but it likely will not offer the protections one desired initially. Reviewing an estate plan every so often is a good way to make sure it still meets one’s needs. If it no longer does, New Jersey residents can turn to an experienced estate planning attorney to make any necessary changes.