Updated: Sep 3
Often, we think estate planning is just about what we’ll leave to children and loved ones. While this is 100% true and an important element in any family unit, it’s also important to talk to your parents about their estate plans to make sure they have everything in order and up to date as well.
Having this conversation now, can save you months of hassles with probate, financial institutions and attorneys in the future. Below are four reasons why your parents should review their estate plan with an attorney every few years – at a minimum.
1. Things Change & So Should Your Estate Plan. Have your parents gotten married or divorce recently? Have there been any deaths or births within the family? Have your parents moved to a different state since their estate plan was created? All these items can have a major impact on an estate plan. It’s important to review the plan to make sure everything is still accurate, including beneficiary designations, legal roles (executor and power of attorney), instructions and asset distribution.
2. Organization Makes Everything Easier. When talking with your parents about their estate plan, make sure to remind them to put all their important documents and account information in a location that you can easily find. There is nothing worse than searching through your parents' home looking for these documents in the midst of a crisis.
3. An Attorney Can Help You Decipher the Jargon. The average person doesn’t read legal documents on a daily basis - which means sometimes you don’t fully understand what you are looking at with an estate plan. An attorney can help you understand what the document means and make sure it’s what your parents’ intended for their plan. If your parents misinterpret the language, it could mean the estate is distributed differently than they intended.
4. Laws change. Whether it’s state laws or estate tax laws, there are lots of legal changes that can take place over the years. An estate planning attorney is well versed in these laws and can quickly spot anything in an estate plan that would be negatively impacted. Having your parents’ plan reviewed by an attorney takes the burden off them – and you – to stay up to date on all these legal matters.
We believe having your estate plan reviewed routinely is essential. What good is an out-of-date plan? That’s why we offer complimentary estate plan reviews, whether you are a client or not! All of our client estate plans are reviewed every three years and we highly recommend everyone does the same. If your parent’s – or your – estate plan needs review, contact us today for your complimentary session.