Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. - Elder Law

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Reviewing your estate plan

Many people living in Florida have outdated estate plans. This means that while they may have a plan in place, it could be missing components or its documents might contain information that is no longer relevant or appropriate. Unfortunately, these estate plans are often inadequate to ensuring that an individual’s last wishes will be honored after death.

There are several reasons why people have outdated estate plans. In some cases, individuals are simply unaware of the need to review wills, end-of-life documents and beneficiary forms on a regular basis. Another issue is that many people are uncomfortable around the very idea of death or the possibility of becoming disabled. This ultimately prevents them from making decisions about medical care and other issues.

Fortunately, updating an estate plan is often straightforward. A consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney can provide clients with the knowledge they need to ensure that their plan reflects their desires.

For example, wills should periodically be updated to reflect an individual’s financial situation and family relationships. If there are concerns about the distribution of personal effects, or the ability of beneficiaries to manage large amounts of money, these issues can be addressed.

Life insurance policies and beneficiary documents for retirement plans and other investments should also be reviewed. Since wills do not cover the distribution of insurance policy payments or retirement plans, it’s important to make sure that all documents mirror the estate planner’s wishes.

For example, if someone has divorced and remarried, he or she will want to name the new spouse as a beneficiary in a will and other planning documents. Similarly, adoptions, married name changes, births and deaths within a family should be addressed so that the identities of beneficiaries are clear. Legal counsel could help a client with this process.