Estate plans are rarely set in stone

A will that is created in Texas may or may not be valid in another state. It is also possible that a will created today won't meet a person's needs in a year or a decade from now. Therefore, it is important that a person takes time to review an estate plan after it has been created. An estate review includes spending time looking at beneficiary designations on 401(k) plans and similar documents.

The person who is listed on the designation form is the person who gets the asset. This is true even if someone else is named in a will or trust. Individuals may also need to update an estate plan if they have a child or grandchild to provide for. As life events occur, a person may need to be taken out of a will or trust. For example, a former spouse may not be the appropriate party to receive cash or a home.

The same might be true of an executor or trustee. The person currently listed as fulfilling this position could be too old or sick to do so properly. It is also possible that an individual has lost touch with an executor or trustee and needs to name someone who better understands his or her needs.

Individuals should plan to engage in the estate planning process throughout their entire lives. This may consist of a series of meetings with attorneys as well as informal reviews when the need arises. Taking time to make sure that a plan is adequate may prevent family fights or other issues from occurring after a person passes. Ultimately, survivors may be able to spend more time grieving the loss of a loved one as opposed to spending time in a probate or other court.

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