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Don’t miss this important part of estate planning

Delaware residents spend time and money putting together a plan that takes care of them if they become incapacitated, and their families upon death. Once they are pleased with their estate plans, they put them away for safekeeping until they are needed. This could be a mistake because they might miss one crucial part of estate planning — the review.

As the years go by, a Delaware resident’s life could change significantly. The people entrusted to carry out his or her wishes might no longer be around for a variety of reasons such as divorce or death. The individual might have had a falling out with the executor, trustee or agent in a power of attorney. The same could be said regarding heirs and beneficiaries.

A review of any accounts that require a beneficiary designation should also be undertaken. Even if a will or trust is changed due to a major life event, the individual or individuals listed as beneficiaries would still receive the funds from the account. Of course, limited exceptions to this rule exist, but the best course of action would be to make sure that the appropriate changes are made when the remaining estate-planning documents are updated, if necessary.

Failing to review an estate plan periodically could undo the work done to ensure a smooth distribution of assets upon death. An important part of estate planning is to provide family members with the peace of mind that a plan exists that will make the probate and estate administration process easier for them during a time of grief. If the plan requires changes, it would be beneficial to discuss them with an attorney to ensure that they are made correctly and in accordance with current law.

Source: recordonline.com, “Bonnie Kraham: Review your estate plan every 3 years“, Bonnie Kraham, March 22, 2017

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