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  • Writer's pictureLisa Campion

Polish Your Plan - Spring Cleaning Estate Planning Tips

Spring Cleaning Tips from LMC Law

Spring is in the air, and with it comes the perfect opportunity to tackle those lingering tasks we've been putting off! Amidst the annual tradition of decluttering our homes, there's one area that often gets overlooked: our legal documents. At LMC Law, we understand the importance of keeping your estate planning documents up to date. As you begin your spring-cleaning journey, consider adding a review of your legal affairs to your to-do list. It may seem daunting at first, but ensuring your documents are organized and current is essential for peace of mind and effective estate planning.

Why Annual Reviews Matter: Life is unpredictable, and changes happen more often than we realize. Whether it's a marriage, the birth of a child, or the purchase of a new home, each milestone can have implications for your estate plan. That's why we recommend annual reviews of your legal documents. By taking the time to assess your situation each year, you can ensure that your documents reflect your current wishes and circumstances.

Key Documents to Review: During your spring-cleaning session, be sure to gather and review the following essential documents:

●      Will

●      Trust

●      Power of Attorney

●      Advance Directive (also referred to as a Living Will)

●      Life Insurance Policies

●      Retirement Account Information

●      Vehicle Titles

●      Property Deeds

●      List of Banking Institutions (checking, savings, CD, investments)

●      List of Online Accounts (including social media, and instructions for your trusted person to access)

●      List of Digital Assets (such as cryptocurrency and NFTs)

Triggers for Updating Your Estate Plan: Certain life events may necessitate updates to your estate plan. Be sure to consider the following events:

●      Marriage or divorce

●      Death of a spouse, child, beneficiary, or proposed guardian for your dependents

●      Purchasing or selling assets such as real estate, investment properties or vehicles

●      Birth of children, grandchildren, or adoption

Important documents to securely dispose of: Once you've reviewed your estate planning documents, it's crucial to keep them organized and dispose of outdated versions.

●       Prior versions of wills, trusts, POAs, etc. You may have unsigned versions from the drafting process that need to be disposed of. Or you may have already updated your documents a few times. It’s important to securely dispose of the prior versions so that your trusted person will know they have the only and most recent version. This way you can be sure there is no confusion about your current wishes.

●       Old bank information. While it’s always best to check with your financial advisor or accountant, generally you can securely dispose of old bank statements, credit card statements and bills that are over seven years old. It will help reduce the clutter that is no longer relevant.

●       Expired policies. Term life insurance policies, health, auto, real property insurance are all things that can be securely disposed of. Again, helping to reduce the clutter where you are keeping your important documents.

As you welcome in the spirit of spring cleaning, don't forget to dust off your estate plan. It’s important that your attorney and/or trusted person know where to find your essential documents and how to access them. By taking the time to review and organize your legal documents, you can ensure that your wishes are accurately reflected, and your loved ones are protected. If you have any questions or need assistance with updating your estate plan, don't hesitate to contact LMC Law. We're here to help you!

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