While it is important for most California adults to have some kind of estate plan, it is also important to ensure that the plan is up to date. There are several elements you should focus on to make sure that the plan will still work for you and your loved ones.
Roles in the estate plan
One thing to look at is who you have chosen for various roles within your estate plan. This might include the executor of your will as well as the people you have appointed to have a power of attorney over your health care and financial planning. If you have a trust, there should also be one or more trustees. The people you appointed might no longer be suitable for the role because of a change in your relationship or for other reasons.
You should also review your will and any trusts to see if they still reflect your wishes. You may have acquired new assets you need to move into the trust. You also need to check whether any strategies to reduce taxes are still valid based on current laws and your financial situation. Be sure that you do not forget to review beneficiary designations, which are the forms you use to name a beneficiary for assets such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies. These are easily overlooked and could mean the wrong person getting some of your assets.
If you do make changes in the documents, they should be clear and it should be obvious which documents are the most recent. Talking to your family about the estate plan and any changes you make may make it less likely that they will misunderstand them and end up in conflict. You might want to work with an attorney in reviewing and revising the documents.