It can be amazing how much things can change in a year. Your financial situation, your family situation, your objectives in life – they can all be dramatically altered with the passing of just 52 weeks. Therefore it’s important to keep tabs on whether or not your estate planning documents fit your current situation – not your situation 12 months ago! While your estate planning attorney will always have plenty of questions for you, here are 5 simple questions you can ask yourself annually.


  1. Did I make any additions to my portfolio of real property? Real property includes land, structures attached to the land, and interests in the land (such as the right to drill for oil, etc.). If so, this property needs to be incorporated into your estate plan.


  1. Do all of my accounts have beneficiary designations? If you have acquired any additional accounts, it’s important to make sure that these have designated beneficiaries. Also, ensure that these assets have both a primary and contingent beneficiary specified.


  1. Have there been changes to my domestic situation? Divorce, re-marriage, or the birth of children can all require changes to your estate planning documents. Failure to make adjustments based on changes in family circumstances could mean that your assets aren’t distributed according to your wishes.


  1. Have there been any changes in the way my property is titled or in the rights of survivorship? If so, changes may need to be made to keep your estate planning up-to-date.


  1. Do my current estate planning documents continue to align with my objectives? Things can change from year to year. Take a moment to think about your overall desires for your assets and beneficiaries and ask yourself if your estate plan is still accomplishing its purpose.


After thinking through the questions above, you may find that some adjustments need to be made to your estate plan. Contact your estate planning attorney to review your current documents and make logical adjustments where necessary.