McCoy Fatula, APCMcCoy
Fatula
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Don't forget to include estate planning updates in your new year

Many California homeowners have schedules for regular home maintenance and housekeeping chores. Financial advisers suggest incorporating estate planning updates to the mix in order to keep your plan current and accurate. Between one year and the next, various types of life changes may occur that might bear significant impact on an estate plan.

Those who go through the process one time and then basically forget all about it may be setting the stage for future complications regarding family members and inheritance. For instance, if an estate owner gets divorced and forgets to update an existing estate plan, assets may not be distributed to the intended person. This type of situation has often caused serious disagreements among new spouses, former spouses, biological children, stepchildren and others.

Updating named beneficiaries is a key factor of thorough estate planning upkeep. It is also helpful to double check all accounts are properly titled. In fact, some say it is always best to be consistent throughout, meaning use the same title on life insurance policies, home titles, bank accounts, etc. Also, if any changes are needed regarding a durable Power of Attorney or advanced medical directives, these should be taken care of in a timely manner as well.

An estate planning attorney can help with any needed changes or updates. This provides the additional opportunity of seeking updated clarifications on California estate laws, since they often change. By making estate plan maintenance part of the regular household schedule, estate owners can stay a step ahead in protecting their own assets and providing for their loved ones' future financial stability.

Source: marketwatch.com, "Is your estate plan up to date? Check these 5 things", Melody Juge, Jan. 12, 2017

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