Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Time to Review Your Estate Plan and Other Tips

The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to review your existing estate planning documents and think about whether you need to update them in light of changes in your personal or financial circumstances, or in light of recent tax law changes. It is generally advised that you review your estate planning documents every 3-5 years, or sooner if any of the following events have occurred:

  • Death of a family member, beneficiary, or fiduciary named in your documents

  • Birth/addition to the family

  • Incapacity or serious illness of a family member, beneficiary, or fiduciary

  • Divorce or separation

  • Retirement

  • Inheritance

  • Loss of job or income

  • Change in business ownership

  • Other substantial change in your finances

Make Sure You Provide Safe Deposit Box Information

Many people keep their valuable documents, including their original estate planning documents, in their safe deposit box. Does your successor trustee of your trust or executor of your will know where your safe deposit box is located? Have you given your successor trustee or executor the key to the box and added them to the signature card to be able to access the box in the event you pass away or are incapacitated? It is advisable to keep your Advance Health Care Directive in an accessible place other than a safe deposit box in the event of a medical emergency, because an emergency may arise when the bank is closed.

Make Sure You Provide Passwords and Log-in Information for Electronic Accounts

More people are switching to online banking and investing online, and fewer people are opting to have statements mailed to them. If you were to pass away or become incapacitated, would your successor trustee or executor know how to access your online account? Would they even have access to your e-mail to check for statements as they come in? It is important to make sure your successor trustee or executor have access to your e-mail and any online retirement benefit, bank, mutual fund, stock, or other investment accounts. Give them a list of your accounts, login names and passwords.

Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in San Diego

The Casiano Law Firm offers experienced assistance with estate planning for clients throughout the San Diego area. Call or e-mail us for assistance in preparing wills, trusts, powers of attorney or advance health care directives, or for representation in probate or trust administration.