People who have an estate plan still need to review that plan regularly to make sure it remains up to date. For example, if the estate plan was created in another state, it might need to be updated based on Georgia law. Another reason to update an estate plan is to be sure that it reflects the increase in the estate tax exemption.
Changes in the family might also mean the estate plan needs to be updated. The person chosen as executor might no longer want that responsibility, or there may need to be a change in beneficiaries or what they receive. People may want to look over beneficiary designations for assets such as 401(k)s. They should also review life insurance policies.
People should make sure their estate plan has all the necessary components. At minimum, there should be a will and paperwork that appoints people to manage health care and financial decisions if a person becomes incapacitated. A person may also want to include instructions for what happens to personal effects because not specifying this can also lead to family conflicts. Finally, people who have created trusts and appointed loved ones as trustees may want to reconsider: Being a trustee can be a lot of work, and a professional may be a better choice.
Estate plans may serve different purposes at different stages in a person’s life. A person can become incapacitated at any age, so it is important that powers of attorney are a part of all estate plans. Designating this and personal effects may be the main function of an estate plan for people without dependents. Later, the estate plan might appoint a guardian for minor children and establish a trust for them. An estate plan for an older person might focus on leaving a legacy behind.