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Estate planning is not one and done; reviews can prevent problems

Many people dread the idea of contemplating what happens after they have passed. However, even if one has settled on his or her final wishes and has a plan in place, this is not a one-and-done task because plans often need updating whenever there are changes to tax laws or one experiences major life changes. New York residents who need assistance with estate planning may wish to consult with professionals.

First and foremost, it is recommended that all estate planning includes a will and advanced directives for medical and financial decisions. Furthermore, these documents may need to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they reflect one's current situation and that the individuals who were chosen as executors and heirs still reflect one's current wishes. In addition, if these plans do not include instructions on how to distribute personal effects, then this leaves open the possibility of loved ones contesting the estate plans. 

Another area that may need to be revisited is existing life insurance polices. When these polices are not  reviewed, they may no longer fit one's needs or may provide inadequate coverage. One could also discover that a policy has lapsed, which may require a lump sum in order to bring it current. Another possible issue could arise if a close friend or relative had been selected as a trustee and that individual may either be no longer available or may not be capable of fully carrying out the multiple responsibilities this position entails.

Estate plans may also be effected by changing tax laws, which may require updating in order to better reflect the current codes. Lastly, certain retirement accounts are better handled through the use of a beneficiary as this can provide additional cost savings for heirs in the future. A thorough review of all estate plans ensures that all personal details reflect the correct information. New York residents who either need assistance revising plans or desire more information concerning how to draft these important documents may wish to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Source: kiplinger.com, "7 Signs Your Estate Plan May Be Worthless", Casey Robinson, March 15, 2018

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