When you should update your estate plan depends on the Six D’s.  What are the “Six D’s”? They are: death, divorce, diagnosis, distance, dividend and days.  In other words, if someone or something in your last will and testament, financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney (an advance directive for health care here in Georgia), your living will (included in your advance directive for health care), your HIPAA release, your nomination of guardianship, your trust has been impacted by one of these six events, you should read through your planning and consider whether changes need to be made.

In previous posts, we discussed in Pt. 1 what to consider if someone receives a new diagnosis.  In Pt. 2 we discussed what happens if you or someone you named in your plan transitions through divorce.  In Pt. 3 we discussed if a person you have named or a person you wished to name moves a “distance” away from or towards you, consider a change.

This article will be about when someone in your estate plan dies.

We work with a number of women who have estate plans from a previous time in their lives.

For example, we recently provided a new plan for a client who didn’t have children of her own.  She had an estate plan, however.  But her deceased sister and brother were named in the plan to receive the estate and to take on the role of being Executor and/or Agent.  We provided a new plan for her and walked her through her options of who or what type of professional would be the best fit for her moving forward.

Another example is when we work with someone who’s late spouse is named in the Will and other important documents.  Perhaps the client isn’t ready to name her adult children to receive monies and/or take on those roles of administering the estate.  Sometimes we work with our clients to give them an entirely new type of plan, like a trust.

A final example is when you have young children.  Parents of young children need to make sure they nominate a guardian to care for their children if they become incapacitated and/or pass away.  What if the person you name dies?  Or maybe you have named your parents and one of your parents pass away.  Can the surviving parent handle that responsibility alone?  All good things to walk through and perhaps make a change in your planning.

The point is to consider your estate plan when someone dies that has been named in your plan as either a beneficiary (someone who is set to receive money or property at your death) or a fiduciary (an Executor, an Agent, a Trustee).  It may be that you don’t need to make changes because there are considerations for this occurrence in your plan already.

But what if your last will and testament don’t mention what’s supposed to happen?  We’re here to walk through what would happen and if it isn’t what you want, then we help you change it!

If you have a death in your family or a close friend has passed and you named that deceased person in your plan in any way, consider pulling your plan out of the binder and safe and take a look at it.  Does it still do what you need it to do with the people you have named?  Or have you had a death in the family or a close friend who has passed and you DO NOT have a plan, but you expected that individual to take care of things if something happened to you?

We want to help you.  Give us a call and we can walk through these changes in your life and make sure your planning is still appropriate.