Louisiana residents who take the time to go through the estate planning process do so for several reasons. They want to protect themselves should they become incapacitated, but they also want to make life easier on their loved ones when they die. The probate process is certainly much easier for beneficiaries to get through when an estate plan is up to date.
Too many people feel that estate planning is a one-and-done kind of thing. It is not. Life changes, and one's estate plan often needs to change with it. It is wise to review an estate plan at least every few years to make sure the contents still apply.
What items should one review? First, beneficiary designations are a good place to start. Obviously, it is wise to make sure assets are set to go to the right people. Second, power of attorney and health care directives should be looked over. If it is believed that the individual or individuals assigned to these positions are not going to make decisions that are in one's best interests, it is time to make a change.
Third, it is wise to review any trust documents. Does the trust still offer the protection desired? Is it funded? Is the trustee still a good fit? If one answers no to any of these questions, updating the trust is a must.
Finally, fourth, the will. Does anything need to be added? Does anything need to be removed? The sooner one makes any necessary changes, the better.
If an estate plan is out of date, the probate process can take much longer than it should. Disputes may arise that can be difficult to resolve. By taking the time to review their estate plans every so often, Louisiana residents can help prevent a lot of drama and hurt feelings among family members, and save them time and money as they work through the probate process.