Step 6: Review

We live in a world of continuous change. Even if you've begun working on an estate plan, you need to remember that things change. The value of your property may change. Your objectives may change. Your beneficiaries may marry, divorce, have children, or die. Tax laws may change. So it's important to plan to review and modify.

First, be sure that you have completed all of the items that you planned to do. Use the checklist to be sure that you didn't forget anything.

Make a list of the actions you need to do (Word: 102 KB)

Financial Checkup Checklist:

  1. Obtain permission of people I would like to name to represent me in these (estate planning) documents.
  2. Have my will and/or trust drafted or updated.
  3. Carefully read each legal document.
  4. Make a list describing whome I want to receive each of my personal belongings and put it with my will.
  5. Explain to family members that I have a will and tell them its location as well as the location of other important documents.
  6. Give a copy of my will to my executor or personal representative.
  7. Give a copy of my trust to my trustee.
  8. Give a copy of my living will to my attorney, doctor, hospital, and family.
  9. Have a current durable power of attorney for health care and family.
  10. Give a copy of my durable power of attorney for health care to my attorney, doctor, hospital, and family.
  11. Have a current durable power of attorney for financial affairs.
  12. Give a copy of my durable power of attorney for financial affairs to my attorney and all appropriate financial institutions.
  13. Write a letter of farewell to your spouse, children, and other close family members or friends.
    *Financial Checkup Checklist from Jerry Mason's book, Financial Fitness for Life, (1999) published by Dearborn Publishing Company, page 295.

Second, advisors suggest a review of an estate plan every one to three years, or whenever there is a major change such as a birth, death, marriage, divorce, or tax law change. We suggest that you keep a record beginning with the date that your estate plan was established and listing the date when it was reviewed. For example:

Date estate plan was established:

Date of 1st review or change:

Date of 2nd review or change:

Date of 3rd review or change:

Another suggestion is to continue to add information to this plan. You could include information about changes relating to your home, personal property, family, business, etc. 


Additional Resources:

List of Estate Planning Mistakes

10 frequently asked questions about estate planning
(Source: American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys)

Resources