Estate plans that should be updated
People in South Carolina who fail to regularly review their estate plan may do so for various reasons. They may be reluctant to talk about death or may be intimated by the complex documents or tax laws. However, an estate plan that is not properly up to date may not be efficient enough to ensure the assets of an estate are distributed as preferred by the estate’s owner.
One indication of an inadequate estate plan is that important documents are missing. The most basic estate plan should include a will, an advanced medical directive, a financial power of attorney and a will. All of these documents should be evaluated by an attorney within the last decade and immediately after all major life events.
An estate plan also may be an issue if the executors and beneficiaries have not been updated since the plan was created. For example, individuals may have additional relatives they want to include in the estate plan and others that they want to be removed. It may also be necessary to revisit the executor designation, particularly if the person that was chosen when the plan was drafted is no longer able to serve or has died, and there are no successors who have been named.
Individuals should also make sure that their estate plan includes provisions for how their personal effects are to be handled after death. They might help prevent family conflicts if their estate plans clearly outlines who is supposed to receive personal items like family heirlooms and jewelry.
An attorney who practices estate planning law may review the existing plans of clients and may suggest certain actions and documents to ensure that an estate will be handled in accordance with the client’s wishes after death. The attorney might assist with updating a will or power of attorney.