Follow-up Care for Your Estate Plan

Estate planning is an important step in making sure your assets are secure and will be distributed according to your wishes when you die. It can be a complicated procedure, but an experienced New York estate planning attorney can help you make sure that your estate plan is comprehensive and in line with your particular wishes. However, it is important to remember that once you create an estate plan you should take steps to make sure it is secure and remember circumstances may arise that require you to revisit your estate plan and even possibly revise it.

Where should you keep your estate plan?

It is important to keep your estate plan in a secure location with limited access that will protect it from being damaged. Some individuals choose to use a safe deposit box at a bank while other choose a secure home safe option. If you elect to use a safe deposit box at a bank, it can sometimes be difficult to access that box if you pass away. This difficulty will prolong opening your estate and carrying out your wishes. However, safe deposit boxes do offer an extra layer of security for important documents within an estate plan.

A comprehensive estate plan will allow you to select an executor, also sometimes referred to as a personal representative or administrator. It is important to discuss pertinent details of your estate plan with your chosen executor so that they are aware of important information like where you keep your Last Will and Testament as well as other important estate plan documents. Keep in mind that it is extremely important to limit access to these documents because probate of a will may require the executor to defend against charges that the documents have been altered or tampered with.

How can you be sure your assets are protected by your estate plan?

There are a variety of ways that assets can be handled in an estate plan, but each of them has specific provisions and procedures that must be closely adhered to in order to make those provisions effective. For example, many individuals choose to create a revocable trust to guard certain assets. While this could be the right option for you, simply creating a trust doesn’t automatically transfer assets to that trust. You may need to formally switch ownership from yourself to the trust in order for that trust to be effective in protecting your assets and distributing them.

When should you review your estate plan?

It is a good idea to review your estate plan in regular intervals, usually every three to five years. This can help you ensure that you have accounted for any significant changes in your assets since you created your estate plan. If you experience any significant life events after you have created an estate plan, such as marriage or childbirth, it is a good idea to revisit your estate plan as soon as possible to account for these changes. You may wish to revise how your assets will be distributed if you pass away. Significant changes in the law, especially changes to tax laws, also warrant a review of your estate plan to make sure that the provisions within your plan continue to comply with the law in as convenient a way as possible for you and your loved ones.

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