Estate plans may vary from person to person, but there are certain documents that are commonly included in most estate plans.

The most important document in any estate plan is the last will and testament. This document outlines what will happen to your assets and who will be appointed as guardians for your children or trustees for your estate. Reviewing your last will and testament every two to three years is important to ensure that the right people are in the right roles and that everything is up-to-date. If there are only minor changes, such as updating someone's name or address, a codicil can be added to the document. However, if there have been significant changes, it may be necessary to redraft the entire will.

Another common document in an estate plan is a trust. Trusts are used to manage assets and protect them from the probate court. If you have a trust, it is important to review it every two to three years to ensure that the right people are still in place as trustees and beneficiaries. If necessary, the trust can be restated or amended to reflect changes in your life.

A healthcare power of attorney and a durable power of attorney are also key components of an estate plan. The healthcare power of attorney designates someone to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated, and the durable power of attorney designates someone to manage your financial affairs. Updating these documents is usually straightforward and can involve simply substituting someone's name or updating an address or phone number. If the same people are still in the same place, updating these documents may not be necessary.

A living will is another document that is often included in an estate plan. This document outlines your wishes for end-of-life care, and it is important to review it every two to three years to ensure that the provisions still align with your current wishes. Finally, deeds to your property should be reviewed and updated as necessary with the help of an attorney.

Updating your estate plan every two to three years is important to ensure that all the important details are correct and up-to-date. Whether you're updating your last will and testament, trust, healthcare power of attorney, durable power of attorney, living will, or property deeds, it's important to work with a professional to ensure that everything is in order.

Do You Need an Estate Plan?

If you don't already have an estate plan, or if you have one that needs to be updated, let's schedule a Legal Strategy Session online or by calling my Edina, Minnesota office at (612) 294-6982 or my New York City office at (646) 847-3560. My office will be happy to find a convenient time for us to have a phone call to review the best options and next steps for you to work with an estate planning attorney to get your estate plan prepared.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.