Stale is for Crackers

If you’ve been reading our blog, then you know by now why it is so important to create an Estate Plan. However, you might not yet realize how important it is to review your Estate Plan regularly, and keep it updated.

The primary reason to review your Estate Plan regularly is the simple fact that your life changes in numerous small ways over time. For example:

  • Friendships grow and change, which may have an impact on your trustee or agent nominations.
  • Children grow and mature (or not), which may cause you to re-think distribution amounts and methods.
  • People move and change addresses—perhaps even you! You’ll want to update the contact information contained in your Estate Plan.
  • Your health status may change over the years, and your Health Care Directive should be updated to include any new illnesses, medical conditions, or doctors.

These reasons alone should be enough to motivate you to review your Estate Plan, but there is one more reason to update your plan that you may not be aware of, and that is that certain Estate Planning documents lose potency over time.

The Financial Power of Attorney is one of those documents that lose potency. Many banks will not accept a Power of Attorney executed more than five years prior. If this happens to you it means that your agent must get a conservatorship through the courts before they can access your bank accounts. An Assignment of Personal Property is another document that loses potency over time, which could result in any assets acquired after the signing of the document having to go through probate.

There are enough changes that take place over the course of five years to justify an update, but if that isn’t enough, let the law persuade you. Don’t let your Estate Plan get “stale,” be sure to have it reviewed and updated regularly.