Spring Clean Your Estate: Don’t Let Your Plans Gather Dust!

By Attorney Erin L. Nunes. Esq., Partner

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and spring-cleaning fever is in the air. But before you tackle those cluttered closets and dusty shelves, there’s another important area ripe for a refresh: your estate plan.

Just like your home, your estate planning documents shouldn’t be set and forget. Life changes, laws evolve, and your wishes might shift too. Leaving those crucial papers gathering dust in a drawer can have serious consequences down the line.

Think of it as a “spring cleaning” for your future. Reviewing your estate plan is like opening the windows and letting in fresh air, ensuring it reflects your current circumstances and protects your loved ones as you move through life.

Here’s why regularly revisiting your estate plan is essential:

  • Changes in the law: Legal landscapes can shift, and what was airtight yesterday might require tweaks today. A trusted attorney can help ensure your plan stays compliant and effective.
  • Changes in your life: From marriage and kids to health updates and retirement transitions, your life evolves. Your estate plan should keep pace, safeguarding your assets and loved ones in any scenario.
  • Changes in your goals: Priorities and wishes can change over time. Maybe you now want to protect assets from long-term care costs, or leave a specific heirloom to a grandchild. Reviewing your plan allows you to adapt it to your evolving needs.

Don’t wait for a crisis to realize your plan needs work. Proactive updates are key to peace of mind. Here are some signs it’s time for a spring clean:

It’s been more than five years since your last review.

  • You’ve experienced major life changes like marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child.
  • Your health or financial situation has significantly changed.
  • You have concerns about specific aspects of your plan, like asset protection or beneficiary designations.

Ready to give your estate plan a spring refresh? Here’s what you can do:

  • Gather your documents: Pull out your will, power of attorney, healthcare proxy, and any other relevant paperwork.
  • Schedule a review with an attorney: A qualified professional can guide you through your documents, address any concerns, and recommend updates if needed.
  • Be open and honest: Discuss your current wishes, concerns, and family dynamics with your attorney to ensure your plan reflects your true intentions.

Remember, your estate plan is a living document, not a dusty relic. By regularly reviewing and updating it, you can ensure it works for you, not against you, when it matters most. So, this spring, don’t just declutter your home – declutter your future too!

Additional tips:

  • Involve your loved ones in the review process. Open communication can prevent misunderstandings and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Consider using online tools or digital document storage solutions to keep your plan readily accessible and up-to-date.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your attorney is there to guide you and ensure your plan meets your needs.

By taking these steps, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your estate is in order and your loved ones are protected. So, let’s give your estate plan the spring cleaning it deserves!

©Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. 35 Arnold Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, 336 South Street, Hyannis MA 02601 and 45 Bristol Drive, Easton MA 02375.  This article is for illustration purposes only.  This article does not constitute legal advice.  There is no attorney/client relationship created with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. by this article.  DO NOT make decisions based upon information in this article.  Every family is unique and legal advice can only be given after an individual consultation with an elder law attorney.  Any decisions made without proper legal advice may cause significant legal and financial problems.