Having an estate plan in place will give you and your loved ones peace of mind. After you put the time and effort into creating the documents with your attorney, don’t forget to complete the process by updating your accounts according to your plan. Before you put that giant Estate Planning Binder in a desk drawer, there are some final steps to complete.
Certain account types, like retirement accounts, allow you to add beneficiaries. These accounts do not follow the instructions in your will, and they will be transferred directly to the people or entities you name as the beneficiary. After you update your estate plan, review all of your account beneficiaries and make any necessary updates in line with your plan. Your financial advisor can assist with the changes.
If your estate plan includes a new trust, your attorney may instruct you to open a new trust account or retitle your accounts in the name of the trust. Your financial advisor can assist with these changes as well as consolidating accounts or transferring assets to make it easier to manage your estate.
Powers of Attorney
Before you file away your Power of Attorney documents, give a copy to the trusted individuals you named as agent or attorney-in-fact. In an emergency, you don’t want them wasting precious time searching your home for the files.
Time for an Update?
If your estate plan is more than 10 years old, or if there have been significant changes in your life or family situation, it may be time to review it with an attorney. Changes in laws and regulations may have an impact on the guidelines written into your will or trust documents. Your personal preferences may also have changed over the years. You may wish to adjust your charitable gifts or alter how your children receive funds now that they are adults. Your attorney will be able to tell you if you need to update the documents or if they still meet your needs.
An Estate Plan is a set a living documents, which means that they need to change or be updated as your life changes. Each time you open a brokerage or retirement account you need to make sure it fits within the parameters of the overall strategy. A review of the documents every few years will make sure your wishes are correctly captured. Your estate plan is an important part of your overall financial plan, and your financial advisor can assist with making sure you are on the right track.
Terri Velgara, CFP®
Terri is a Financial Advisor and Director of Financial Planning at Rappaport Reiches Capital Management. She serves as a resource for our firm's advisors in designing plans that empower clients to achieve their personal and financial goals. Please connect with Terri below. She loves to talk about investing, financial planning, and family game nights!