As the year draws to a close, you may have many concerns on your mind. For example, you may find yourself thinking about your family relationships as you plan for the holidays, or you may think about your previous vacations as you plan for your annual winter trip.
If you are like most adults, your estate plan isn’t on your mind when the holidays arise. You probably created an estate plan when you first bought your house or had children and have since assumed you had all the protection you need.
Before you travel, reviewing your estate plan can help you ensure that your documents actually do protect you the way you need.
It’s easy to forget how quickly life changes
No one intends to leave big gaps in their estate plan, but it happens to many people. Using generic language when you draft a will early in life is a common practice, and people may find that they need to make their documents more specific later in life.
You may have created an estate plan primarily focused on protecting your spouse or your children if something happened to you rather than protecting yourself. What kind of changes do you potentially need to make to your estate plan after reviewing it carefully?
Updates to assets and beneficiary designations
You may have acquired substantially more property in the years since you first created a will, or you may have sold off certain assets to acquire others. You may have lost a spouse or divorced. You may also have added children to your family that you now want to integrate into your estate plan.
Reviewing what assets you included in the plan and the beneficiaries who will receive them can help you make changes to your wishes that reflect your current household situation.
Update or create living documents
Your estate plan probably prioritizes what your spouse and other dependents need if something happens to you. Now that you are a bit older, you may also recognize the value of leaving instructions in case you need medical care and can’t communicate for yourself.
Living documents include advance health care directives and powers of attorney. You can tell other people what your medical preferences are and empower individuals to handle medical and financial matters for you.
Addressing these issues now, before you travel, insurance that you have all the right protections in place if something unexpected happens during your trip. Reviewing your estate plan will help you protect yourself and the people you love.