Your Florida Estate Planning Update Checklist
Just as you conduct seasonal chores, take your car in for routine maintenance, and keep regular appointments with your doctor, it is equally critical to review your Florida estate plan on a periodic basis. Still, even though you know the importance of updates, it can be difficult to determine exactly when or how often to undertake these tasks.
Since there is no hard and fast rule about timing on assessment of your existing estate plan, the best approach is to focus on the documents you have prepared. Taking each in turn can help you understand the issues that should trigger a review. It is essentially to rely on a Dade City estate planning lawyer when it comes to advice on changes, but an overview of the relevant issues can also give you some perspective.
Last Will and Testament
As a cornerstone of your estate plan, your will is one document that you should review regularly to ensure it aligns with your intentions. The keys to focus on are:
- Whether your executor remains ready and willing to serve;
- How your assets are distributed and potential tax burdens;
- New children or other beneficiaries;
- Deaths of individuals named in your will; and
- Changes to your residence.
Fortunately, it is possible to make changes to your will under Florida’s codicil law, which provides the same legal formalities for writing an original will.
Your estate plan may include a Designation of Health Care Surrogate, Living Will, and/or Do Not Resuscitate Order, so take the opportunity to scan these documents periodically. If the person you appointed as agent for health care purposes has moved, you might need to name someone who is closer and more convenient. It is not unusual for people to change their minds about end-of-life care, which might prompt modifications to other advance directives.
Durable Power of Attorney
Your circumstances may have changed considerably since appointing an agent to handle your real estate, personal property, and financial affairs. If your agent is no longer a good fit, consider another individual who has an appropriate level of financial sophistication. Note that best practices are to put any revocation of a power of attorney in writing.
If you have a living trust, you should be reviewing your assets on a regular basis for purposes of titling them in the name of the trust. With many estate plans, the point is to have the trust “own” these items at your death so they do not go through probate – among other objectives.
Talk to a Pasco County Estate Planning Attorney About Updates
If considerable time has passed or life circumstances have changed since you last had a look at your estate planning documents, the time is ripe for a review. Our team at The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane can assist by going over your arrangements, learning about your new situation, and explaining the implications of new laws. Please call our Dade City office today at 352-567-0055 or visit our website to set up a consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer.