It’s officially spring!
Time to awaken from our unusually long COVID winter hibernation/nightmare just in time for annual spring cleaning. It is the perfect opportunity to get your affairs in order. Just like your home needs a good clean up periodically, so does your admin work.
We’ve Prepared the following 8 Step Checklist to help you get your estate plan organised and up to date…
- Address Milestone / Family Changes
Have there been any milestone changes in your family situation recently? Perhaps there was a death, a birth, a marriage, a divorce – anything that may require you to make a change to your will, power of attorney, life insurance, trust – the list goes on…
- Update Your Asset / Liability Inventory
Have any of your assets changed recently? Have you sold a home, made an investment, started a new business?
A change in your assets may lead to a change in your estate plan distributions, as well as tax planning for your estate – so, make sure that you document any major changes.
- Check the Beneficiaries
Make sure you know who they are and that they are still the people or person you wish to inherit your estate.
You may want to consider if the named beneficiaries remain appropriate people to inherit, and also whether there are additional people that you wish to benefit from your estate.
- Check your Substituted Decision Makers
Make sure you know who they are and that they are still the people that are best placed to make decisions for you if you are not able.
Make sure that everyone named as your substitute decision maker remains appropriate and that you have given the directions/conditions that you feel comfortable with and that will reflect your wishes.
- Audit Your Digital Assets and Online Accounts
Are your social media accounts, cryptocurrency, online medical portals and other digital assets and online accounts documented and up to date?
An annual audit of these accounts is normally sufficient. You are checking to make sure nothing has slipped through the cracks, and that the accounts will be properly maintained or closed when your estate is settled.
It is important to keep passwords secure at all times.
- Insurance and Super
Make sure your nomination is up to date and reflects your wishes.
Insurance and superannuation beneficiaries are usually different to your estate.
The law considers pets to be ‘property’ that can be dealt with in your will – does your will clearly outline your wishes regarding the arrangements for your pet?
Pets have a special role in our lives, so it is important to protect them after you pass. Some questions to ask are ‘Who do you want to take care of them after you pass away?’; ‘Can the nominated person handle the costs or should you leave them maintenance funds?’; ‘Is the nominated person someone you know can provide the love and care that your pet deserves?’
- Shred outdated documents
Are all redundant or outdated documents shredded or destroyed?
In with the new documents, in the shredder with the old. There is just no reason why you should keep outdated documents, as they will just get in your way and cause potential confusion for your beneficiaries and, in severe cases, can even result in litigation regarding your will.
The Bottom Line
To give yourself peace of mind and to ensure that your wishes are carried out, it is important to take steps to have an up-to-date and well-organized estate plan, and that regular spring cleaning is the best way to ensure that nothing was forgotten or unnecessarily clutters your plan. The team at DSL Law can help ensure your estate plan is up to date, your loved ones are protected, and your wishes are carried out.