While many people know that they should review their estate plans from time to time, it often isn’t done. Springtime can be the ideal time to organize your documents, have conversations with loved ones, and seek advice from legal and financial professionals. BRMM Law’s Danielle Mayoras recently appeared on WDIV TV to discuss the importance of legal and financial spring cleaning and the need for updating your estate planning documents.
The Importance of Legal and Financial Spring Cleaning
The importance of having an estate plan in place cannot be overstated. But it’s important to review each document periodically to ensure they still meet your wishes and reflect your financial situation. Whether your plan consists of a last will and testament, healthcare directive, and powers of attorney — or your planning includes a variety of trusts, you should be sure to revisit these estate planning documents every so often.
“Spring is a great time to pull those documents out and take a look at them,” Danielle explained to viewers of the program. “Make sure they say what you want them to say and that you have the people making your decisions that you want to do that — and giving the money to the people you want to have it. . . things change over time, so it’s always great to take a look at those.”
Inform Your Loved Ones Where You Keep Your Estate Planning Documents
Once you review and revise your estate documents as needed, it’s essential to inform your loved ones where they are located. “I can’t tell you how many times people do those documents and then something happens — and their loved ones have no idea where they’re located,” Danielle cautioned.
Wherever you decide to store your estate planning documents, make certain they are secure. Some locations you might consider leaving the documents can include a fire and flood-proof safe in your home or a safe deposit box at a bank. You might also consider storing your documents digitally — but even if they are kept in the cloud or on a USB drive, it’s still a good idea to have hard copies of the originals stored in a safe place that can be easily accessed.
How to Have the Conversation with Your Loved Ones
Discussing estate planning documents with your family isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. Communicating your wishes to loved ones can help them understand your wishes and reasoning. It can also help to prevent family conflicts in the future. While your family might not want to think about what will happen when you pass away, it’s important to emphasize that estate planning is an act of love.
“Having that conversation — and not making it a dreaded conversation, but coming from a place of love — is so important,” Danielle shared with viewers.
Although it can often be difficult to initiate this conversation, choose a calm place and time to bring your family together. Help them to understand your plans for carrying out your family’s legacy and stress the benefits of the discussion. One way of doing this can be to use celebrity estate planning mishaps as an example of how to avoid making the same mistakes.
Reach Out to the Professionals in Your Life
Springtime is also tax season, which is a component in legal and financial spring cleaning. “Review and spring go together perfectly,” Danielle remarked. She noted that this is an ideal time to reach out to your financial advisor, CPA, and attorney. In addition to reviewing your financial documents, you should also consider your assets and determine if everything is organized the way you wish.
Stressing the importance of working with qualified professionals, Danielle noted, “you don’t want to be in a situation where you didn’t get good advice and then your family pays the price.” Building a team of capable and trusted professionals can provide you with peace of mind in knowing that your loved ones will be provided for.
Start with the Basics
Reviewing estate planning documents can feel daunting — and it’s best to start with the basics. Reaching out to your attorney this spring is a good way to begin the process. They can sit down with you and discuss your legal situation, changes in family circumstances, and the contents of your current estate plan. In doing so, you can help to ensure that your family and financial legacies are passed on in accordance with your goals.
Contact an Experienced Michigan Estate Planning Attorney
Reviewing your estate planning documents at regular intervals is crucial to ensure your loved ones are provided for in the future. The estate planning attorneys at Barron, Rosenberg, Mayoras & Mayoras work closely with our clients regarding a wide variety of estate planning matters. Schedule a consultation today by calling (248) 213-9514 in Michigan or (941) 222-2199 in Florida to learn how we can assist you. You can also use our simple online contact form.