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Spring Clean Your Estate Planning

It’s spring cleaning time, so out with the old and in with the new! While you’re doing the spring season cleaning for your home, keep in mind your estate planning may need some ‘spring cleaning’ as well. If it has been more than five years since you had your estate planning documents completed or revised, now might be the perfect time to set up an appointment with an estate planning lawyer to review them.
Here are our tips for an annual update of your estate planning:

Revise Your Documents

Wills and Durable Power of Attorneys should be updated regularly, usually as often as your life changes or at least every five years. If your family or financial circumstances have changed at all, it’s best to adjust your will accordingly. Beneficiaries, guardians, executor and trustee need to be considered, also.

Your Durable Power of Attorney (learn more about a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) here: http://layman‐nichols.com/why‐you‐need‐a‐power‐of‐attorney/), is a document allowing someone to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so. This document names the individual who can write checks to pay bills and manage all your financial and legal affairs. If, when the time comes, the person you have named is unable to handle the duties of the DPOA, you may be assigned a court‐ordered guardianship, which can be costly. So it’s best to be sure to review these documents regularly and to, also, consider adding an alternate agent in case the primary agent is unable to act.

Beneficiary Designations

IRA, 401(k), Life Insurance, and Annuity beneficiaries should be updated at least annually. If you had a previous marriage or even had a stock broker who has switched firms, you should appropriately update your IRA and 401(k) beneficiary designations.
The Custodial Agreement will control, and the account will be payable to your estate. If the estate becomes your beneficiary, the entire account will have to be distributed earlier than if a beneficiary is named resulting in the acceleration of income recognition.

Remember that your estate planning should be updated regularly – and what better time of the year to clean it up than when you’re cleaning everything else out. So during this spring cleaning season make sure to spring clean your estate planning essentials, too!

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