Planning for the future is a good endeavor, and creating an estate plan is part of that process. Yet, it is not enough to simply draft a will or trust.
You must also ensure that your estate plan remains secure and accessible when needed.
Organize your documents
Begin by meticulously organizing your estate planning documents. This includes your will, trust documents, power of attorney and healthcare directives. Maintain physical copies in a designated, secure location within your home. Store them in a fireproof and waterproof safe, and make sure your loved ones know where to find them. Additionally, consider keeping digital copies on a secure, password-protected electronic device or in a trusted cloud storage service.
Inform key individuals
Communication is key. While you may not need to divulge every detail, providing your loved ones with an overview of your plan can prevent confusion and disputes later on. It is particularly important to inform them of the location of your essential documents and the identity of your chosen executors. This transparency can ease the burden on your family during a challenging time.
Perform regular checkups
Life is ever-changing, and so are your circumstances. As such, periodically review and update your estate plan. Marriage, divorce, births deaths, and significant financial changes can all impact your plan’s effectiveness. Make it a habit to review your plan at least once a year or whenever a significant life event occurs.
Suffolk County courts dealt with 3,028 probate court filings in 2022. Creating an estate plan and ensuring it is accessible and safe helps minimize the hassles associated with probate and ensures your wishes unfold the way you want.