Your estate plan protects your assets and may help secure your family’s future. However, if your family spends time disputing the will, it may remain in the system for an extended period. Additionally, your assets may end up in the wrong hands.
You have specific plans for your estate and if your will is ambiguous, you open your estate plan up to contest.
Review your plan regularly
Look over your estate planning documents at least once every few years. Make sure to check your will after every major life event. For example, review your plan after the birth or adoption of children, divorce, marriage or inheritances. In addition to checking on your will, make sure the person you leave as executor or guardian is still your favorite choice. Executors have a busy, complex job when it comes to liquidating accounts, paying debts, selling assets and ensuring your assets go to your beneficiaries. Likewise, review who you left as the guardian if you have children. Sometimes the people you name go through life events and may no longer have the capability to do the job.
Check accounts outside of your will
You may not include assets in your will, including 401(k) plans and retirement accounts. Regularly check the beneficiaries on these accounts. Even if you include the accounts in the will, if you have a different beneficiary, the beneficiary trumps the will. Make sure the names are the same in your will. Sometimes you may forget to name a beneficiary or you may divorce and remarry.
If you forget to remove someone’s name from your will or bank accounts, your family may have to fight to reclaim the assets.