Just as a car needs regular maintenance, your estate planning documents need to be updated from time to time. Changes to the law and significant events in your life could alter the way that you originally meant to apportion assets in your estate planning documents. The only way to ensure that your estate plan truly reflects who you are, what you care about, and what you have today is to have your documents reviewed and updated as needed.
So, when are updates needed? Have there been any changes in your family structure, financial circumstances, or health? The list below pinpoints certain examples of events that could have a significant impact on your estate.
- You get married or divorced
- Your spouse dies or becomes incapacitated
- You become ill or disabled
- You have a new child
- Your child marries or divorces
- Your child becomes ill or disabled
- You have a new grandchild
- One of your beneficiaries shows signs of being financially irresponsible
- One of your beneficiaries develops a drug or alcohol problem
- The value of your assets has significantly increased or decreased
- You retire or change employment
- You acquire property in a different state
- You move to a different state
- There have been changes in the law that may affect the language of your documents.
Even if no changes are necessary, you should annually sign an updated Powers of Attorney. Some financial institutions won’t accept a Power of Attorney more than a year old. Similarly, the older an Advance Medical Directive is, the less likely it is that it will be honored by a doctor or hospital.
Don’t let too much time pass between reviews of your plan. The cost of a review is minimal; but the cost to your family if you neglect your plan could be disastrous. If any of these changes have happened to you or if you haven’t updated your estate plan in the last few years, the time is now.
Where to begin
You should begin the review process by locating the originals (or copies) of your estate planning documents. (If changes are necessary, please do not make notations on any original document, although it is fine to mark up a copy.)
- Review the Estate Planning Summary(a one-page list, located at the front of the binder). Verify that the people you originally named to handle your affairs upon your death or disability are still the people you want to take on these important tasks.
- Review the Article in your Trust(or your Will) which lists your Beneficiaries. Are these still the people who should receive your assets upon your death?
The Farr Law Firm’s Lifetime Protection Plan
The Farr Law Firm’s Lifetime Protection Plan ensures that your documents are properly reviewed and updated as needed, so that they will have maximum effect at law.
Your plan may need to be updated for any of the reasons listed above. Some changes (such as changing one fiduciary for another) can be made without a consultation. Other changes may require an additional consultation, but as a member of our Lifetime Protection Program, the consultation with an attorney or paralegal will be at no additional charge.
In addition to ensuring that your Powers of Attorney are recent (and therefore more likely to be accepted) there are other benefits to Lifetime Protection Program membership, including:
- Annual Review of your estate plan.
- Free Modifications of any document if there are changes in the law.
- Free Phone Calls at any time if you have a question about your existing estate plan, at no additional charge.
- Free Seminars and Newsletters, which can both remind you to maintain your estate plan and help educate your family members and other loved ones about it.
- Free DocuBank Renewal. If you agreed to allow us to include your Advance Medical Directive in the DocuBank electronic registry, then we will pay your annual DocuBank enrollment fee. This ensures that doctors and hospitals will be able to immediately download your most recent Advance Medical Directive (and your important medical information) in an emergency.
- Electronic Document Storage and Distribution. Your signed Will, Trust, Powers of Attorney and other Estate Planning documents have been scanned into our electronic database (backed up daily by three redundant methods) and will be stored there for your future access as necessary. At your request, we can upload these documents to our secure Extranet so that you can retrieve copies and store them for yourself. With your permission, we can also provide access to electronic copies to anyone who might need such access.
- Free Quality Referrals. I have been in practice in Northern Virginia for nearly 25 years, and I know the top professionals in all fields of the law.
- Peace of Mind. Continued enrollment ensures that your planning is up to date, and you aren’t leaving unfinished business for your loved ones.
- Personal Discounts. Lifetime Protection Program Members enjoy a 20% discount on any additional or upgraded legal services our firm provides.
- Family Discounts. We are family-friendly — we give family members of Lifetime Protection Program clients a 20% discount for any legal services we provide.
- Priority Service. Our Lifetime Protection Program clients always get priority service and receive our highest level of attention.
We hope you decide to enroll or re-enroll in our Lifetime Protection Program.There is no question that you will see the value of your membership right away! For more information about details, including pricing, please call Jeannie Farr at 703-691-1888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.