If you’ve already put together your estate plan, you may believe that you have taken care of your affairs. Your life, however, continues to change after you’ve created your estate plan. Your estate plan shouldn’t remain static—it should evolve to fit your needs.
With that in mind, here are four tips for estate planning as you enter your 60’s:
1. Continue to update your will or trust documents as needed
The tips I included in my last newsletter
still apply—you should continue to review your estate plan every two (2) years, and you should update your documents when a major life event occurs. This could include a change in family relationships (such as an engagement, marriage, birth of grandchildren, adoption, divorce, death, or changes regarding a beneficiary); changes in economic or personal conditions (such a significant variations in asset values, insurability, employment, business interests, health or retirement); or external changes (such as tax laws, residence or death of a named executor, trustee or guardian). In all events, you should be certain to have your documents reviewed at least every two (2) years.
2. Review and update your Advance Healthcare Directive
Georgia enables you to create an Advance Healthcare Directive in which you appoint an agent to make health-care related decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. If you do not yet have an Advance Healthcare Directive, now is the time to create one. Make sure your appointed agent understands his/her role. Communication is key.
If you created a living will and power of attorney for health care prior to 2007, the Georgia Advance Healthcare Directive won’t nullify those documents; however, you should still review those documents regularly to ensure that they accurately convey your wishes, and you may want to replace them with an Advance Healthcare Directive.
3. Create or update your Financial Power of Attorney
In addition to appointing a healthcare agent, you should consider appointing an agent to make financial decisions on your behalf. Managing your finances can include a myriad of tasks like paying your bills, monitoring investments, and accepting benefits on your behalf, so your financial power of attorney needs to be someone you trust and who understands your financial needs.
It’s also important to know whether your financial power of attorney document is “durable” or “springing” so that you and your assigned agent understand when the document will take effect. A springing power of attorney will take effect upon a determination of incapacity, while a durable power of attorney will take effect immediately after being signed. An estate planning attorney can explain the differences and can help you determine which type of document is best for you.
4. Keep Your Loved Ones In the Know
As I discussed in the last newsletter, it’s important to include your loved ones in the estate planning process. Discuss your plans with them. Keep your original documents organized and in one place, and make sure your attorney as well as executor(s), trustee(s), guardian(s), and agent(s) know where those documents are located. An estate planning attorney can discuss the pros and cons of providing copies of such documents to named-individuals.
Managing your estate plan in your 60’s and beyond is all about regular maintenance. You’ve worked hard to put together an estate plan that encompasses all of your wishes and creates a roadmap for your loved ones to follow, so make sure all of your hard work pays off by keeping your plan as up-to-date as possible.
I can answer your questions about estate planning, and I can help you create or update an estate plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Please contact me
to schedule a consultation.