Is there anything like the feeling of excitement and satisfaction that
checking a completed item off your “to do” list generates?
It means that just for a minute, you are one step closer to the ever elusive
goal of being caught up.
When most people finish working with their attorneys on their estate plan
(usually a combination of a will, trust, durable power of attorney, healthcare
surrogate and living will), they happily check the task off the “to
do” list and file the plan away somewhere safe. Then five, ten,
fifteen or maybe even twenty years later when the durable power of attorney
is actually needed, their family is shocked to find out it is not as effective
as originally planned because it is out of date.
Out of date? Who ever said anything about your estate plan having to cycle
back onto your “to do” list? But, alas, it is true; estate
planning is not a one-time checklist item. As your life changes, so should
your estate plan. A regular check-up is needed to make sure it still suits
your wishes, your family situation and the changing law.
So, enjoy the thrill of checking estate planning off your checklist when
your estate plan is prepared. However, don’t cross through the item,
just move it to the bottom of the list so that it can percolate its way
back up to the top again. This rotation, rather than deletion, will help
enhance your chances of always having an up to date plan that actually
performs as you thought it would.