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Keeping Your Plan Up to Date

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As the premier Pocatello estate planning attorneys our goal is to help each of our clients customize their own estate plan to meet their particular needs. Whether it’s their written last will and testament which controls where their money, property, and other assets go after they pass away, or their durable power of attorney which gives them the ability to nominate someone who takes care of them and their property while they are alive, our goal is to accomplish exactly what our clients want. This includes the other important planning documents as well which include the living will giving our clients the ability to leave end of life instructions and the power of attorney for health care.

We understand that not everybody knows the ins and outs of estate planning the same way we do. Because of this, our goal is to provide as much information as possible to our clients for free. To accomplish this, we are eager to have anyone download our Estate Planning Questionnaire which is a simple document you can type into on your computer and save. Our clients tell us the Questionnaire made the process of gathering information for their estate plan simple and easy.

Once this is done, we provide a free 30-minute consultation to discuss the information on the Questionnaire. More importantly, we use this free consultation to answer our clients’ specific questions about estate planning. Our goal is to help our clients understand the options and choices they have for their own estate plan before they have any obligation to pay anything.

The purpose of this article is to explain why it’s important to keep your Pocatello estate plan updated. Additionally, this article describes the specific things that you should keep an eye on and should update from time to time given your circumstances.

Keep Your Nominations/Appointments Updated

The first thing that you should keep updated in your Pocatello estate plan are the nominations and appointments you made in the documents you have. For example, in your written last will and testament you have the ability to make several nominations or appointments. The first, of course, is nominating who your personal representative will be. This person is tasked with the responsibility of paying all your debts and expenses, and then distributing your money, property, and other assets to the persons you identify as your beneficiaries.

Additionally, if you have minor aged children, which are children under the age of 18, you can also nominate who you would like to have be the Guardians of your children if all the natural parents of the children have died. Idaho law specifically allows a will to be used to accomplish this nomination. Additionally, the statute state that this nomination will have the highest priority in guardianship proceedings.

Further, you also have the ability of nominating or naming trustees that you may want to be appointed in any testamentary trust that you create in your last will and testament. This could be a minor’s trust for kids who are under the age of 18. Alternatively, it could be a supplemental needs trust for a child who has disabilities or handicaps.

If you have made any of these types of nominations in your written will, it’s vitally important that you keep them updated based on your current circumstances. If, for instance, the person you nominated as the Guardian for your minor aged children passes away, obviously you should update that nomination. All the other nominations that you have made are equally important and should be reviewed regularly to make sure that they will still work for you.

Keep Your List of Beneficiaries Updated

In addition to keeping the nominations updated you should also keep your list of beneficiaries updated as well. The beneficiaries are the people that you have identified who will receive money, property, or other assets from your estate after you pass away. Typically, basic beneficiaries include family members such as a spouse, or children. However, you have the ability to name other beneficiaries if you choose.

Perhaps there was a local charity that you wanted to have a portion of your estate go to. However, it’s possible that that charity could go out of business and no longer exist. If this happens, it would be wise for you to update who your beneficiary is for that charitable purpose.

Likewise, suppose that at the time you created your estate plan you had children but no grandchildren. However, if time has gone by, it’s possible that you could have one or more grandchildren now that you would want to receive a part of your estate. Because of this, it may be necessary to alter or amend the list of beneficiaries to include your grandchildren.

Whatever the reason, keeping your list of beneficiaries updated is also very important. Often, all it takes is reading through your estate plan to see that A change is needed. If it is, you should go to a qualified estate planning attorney to update your beneficiaries.

Keep Your Plans Updated

Finally, it’s important that you keep your plans updated. The famous quote, “the best laid plans of mice and men,” is a reference to the fact that things don’t always go the way we thought they would. In other words, life happens.

Every one of us goes through major life changes as our life progresses. These could include someone being born, someone dying, getting married, getting divorced, moving away, or changed relationships because of the passage of time. Whatever major life change you have been through, could possibly have an impact on the plan that you created.

To keep your estate plan updated, we asked our clients to Simply review their written plans every four to five years. If any major life changes occurred, our clients will notice it immediately when they read their plan. They will see, and it will be plain to them that a change needs to be made.

The importance of keeping your plan updated is that it should do what it is you want. In other words, your intention should always be carried out. We have helped numerous clients complete their estate plan and make sure that their plan contains their wishes. If you have questions or concerns about your estate plan, we are confident we can help you too!

Enlist An Idaho Estate Planning Attorney To Help You

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning or probate needs. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at lane@racineolson.com or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho estate planning problems.

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