Spring Cleaning Your Estate Plan

Sarah J. Randall

Author: Sarah J. Randall

POST DATE: 4.19.21
Ccha  Estate Planning

Ah, spring. A time for all things new and to usher in growth. Along with that, CCHA finds it to be the perfect season for revisiting and revising your existing estate plan, or, establishing one if you haven’t already. Here are some basic questions to ask yourself, to determine whether or not you should be spring cleaning your estate plan:

Do your beneficiary designations reflect your current wishes? It’s possible you selected a beneficiary in the not-so-recent past. Relationships change. Life situations change. As such, you may want to revisit your beneficiary designations for assets such as life insurance, 401(k)s, or IRAs and ensure your current estate planning documents reflect the same individuals you wish for assets to go.

Will you soon be making any large financial gifts or charitable donations? Making large financial gifts may affect the distribution of your estate, or have estate or gift tax consequences.

Are your existing Executor, Trustee, Guardian, and/or Agent able to fulfill the role and its duties? – Perhaps the individuals you previously designated in these roles have aged, moved, or have other circumstances that would prevent them from taking on what comes with their role. Or, perhaps you have children or other individuals who you now feel are capable of being named to these responsibilities, who previously were too young or not in the right life circumstances. There’s no time like the present to revisit who you find suitable for these various roles.

Ccha april 2021 spring cleaning your estate plan tw
  • What are the personal circumstances of your selected beneficiaries? – Perhaps one of your beneficiaries has special needs or other circumstances where a trust may be appropriate for their share. Or, perhaps your estate planning documents set up restrictive trusts that you feel may no longer be necessary for the intended beneficiaries. It’s important to occasionally revisit the personal circumstances of those you selected as beneficiaries, so as to ensure they are ready and able to receive the gifts they would be getting from you.
  • Have your wishes for the distribution of your estate changed? – Time changes everything. It’s possible you had a very different idea for distributing your estate now than you did when your documents were initially created. Revisit and reconsider your current distribution plan, and allow a trusted attorney to help you coordinate the future you now see laid out before you.
  • Have your assets changed? – This one, though more obvious, is paramount in all estate planning. Have there been changes to your wealth that may affect the distribution or tax-planning of your estate? If so, considerations need to be made to potential changes throughout your estate plan.
  • There’s applicability, and then there’s time. How long has it been since your estate planning documents were created? – CCHA recommends reviewing your estate planning documents at least every five years, to discuss how changes in the law or tax code impact your estate and other items listed above.

The Estate Planning Group at CCHA offers comprehensive estate planning services to ensure your wishes are carried out as you want them to be. Contact us and let us protect and preserve assets for you, your heirs, and beneficiaries and help you transfer your assets, during life or upon death, consistent with predetermined goals.