There Is No Magical Formula In Estate Planning

    Estate planning is not a one size fits all piece of clothing. It is not a magical hat you can pull out an estate plan from. Every person is unique and has different goals and circumstances. A complete estate plan uses a combination of documents to deal with death and incapacity. Will, Trusts, Powers of Attorney for Finance, and Advance Health Care Directives are just a few of the documents used. Once you have an estate plan, life changes and therefore you need to make changes to your plan. Beneficiary Designations need to be updated. Guardians need to be added or removed.

    I have seen too many plans that are “kitchen sink” type plans. They include every type of trust and possible outcome. I have also seen estate plans that were created thirty years before the person died and never looked at again. Families evolve, life changes and things happen. The only magic formula is to choose the plan that meets your needs and review that plan to ensure that it continues to reflect your goals. Planning for the next five years is a good rule of thumb. Provided nothing major has happen or changed it may still make sense, but if it doesn’t then you can make changes.

    As we move toward the end of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect on what changes occurred during the previous year, and what new things are ahead. Add review your estate plan to your list of resolutions and be sure to update your documents if there were any changes in the past year.
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