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Make Your Estate Plan Part of Spring Cleaning

- AlerStallings

Spring is here and when it comes to a deep clean, ‘tis the season to leave no stone unturned. Every dust bunny and bit of unnecessary clutter is quaking in its boots. But before you toss that dust cloth in the wash, you might want to give your estate planning binder a quick once over, too.


Proponents of spring cleaning will tell you the practice has a host of benefits, like reducing anxiety, improving focus, and making you happier. In our experience, updating your estate plan has the same effect, too. So why not multiply the “everything in order” good vibes by making your estate plan part of the ritual? Here’s how.


First the Basic


It might seem obvious, but you should first check that the following information is still correct. You’d be surprised how often it’s overlooked:


 –  Has your will been updated in the last 5 years?


–  Do you need to update your address?


–  Have you experienced any changes in your family situation, such a marriage, divorce, birth or death?


–  Are the listed beneficiaries still consistent with your wishes and current circumstances? (This is particularly important if you answered “yes” to the prior question about changes in your family situation.)


–  The same question also applies to your executor, guardian, or trustee, or agent. Have there been any changes that could impact their ability to serve in the role?


Now for the Deep Cleaning


Easy enough, right? You’re on the home stretch. As you start to leaf through the remainder of your estate plan, ask yourself the following:


–  Have your assets changed– such as a new home or business?


–  Are any applicable financial accounts correctly titled in the name of your trust?


–  Do the beneficiary designations on your assets still match those on your estate plan?


–  Do you need to add or update instructions for the care of your pet(s)?-


–  Are you considering making a large financial gift to charity or another individual this year that could have consequences for your estate plan or tax planning?


Next Steps


Let’s say you’ve found some areas that need to be updated or may require attention later this year (for instance, if you know you’ll be planning to move). What should you do next? That’s the easy part. Get in touch with your estate planning attorney to make them aware of the necessary changes. They’ll take it from there. If your estate plan was created by our team, we offer free lifetime support for your documents and annual check-ins, so you never have to hesitate to give us a call.


Once you have your updated estate plan in hand, it’s time for the final step: shredding the outdated documents. Not only is this important for protecting your privacy, but also to avoid any confusion for your loved ones down the line.


That’s all there is to it! Congratulations on completing your spring cleaning. Now go enjoy your thoroughly clean home!