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Making certain your estate plan is the right plan

You have an estate plan in place, so you might think you can sit back, relax and not worry about the future. That could be a major mistake on your part.

Establishing a plan to begin with is vital, true. However, it can be just as important to make sure your estate plan serves your changing needs and desires.

Questions about your will

Reviewing your will from time to time should be a priority. What was important to you when you wrote the document a decade ago, or even a year ago, may no longer apply now. Changes in marital status, the birth of children and ownership of property call for new looks at your will.

Most people think of wills as addressing the major issues — bank accounts, the house, jewelry, and so on. To family members, though, details are important, too. Sentimental possessions such as photo albums need attention in your will.

Remember that not all wills are created equal. Your handwritten will, despite your intentions, may not meet legal requirements. Complex laws could undermine your wishes.

Questions about what you leave behind

You know the ins-and-outs of your finances. Your records include automatic payments, account numbers, online passwords, recurring donations and more. The question is, does anyone else have this information? The executor of your estate will need access to everything for an orderly process.

Besides dividing property, set aside money to take care of anyone you leave behind. This can include elderly parents, underage children and even pets. The more information you provide, the easier it is to follow your wishes.

You have always taken good care of your assets. A solid estate plan continues this practice after you pass or if you become incapacitated.

Questions to always keep in mind

Your life changes. The laws change. Family dynamics change, too. Your estate plan requires regular review to stay on top of all changes.

An estate plan is your legacy for your loved ones. It can help keep the happy memories alive even when you are gone.

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