Broker Check

Estate Planning Mistakes – Part IV - Not having your documents reviewed and updated

July 24, 2017

Welcome back to this week’s blog.  This week will be the fourth and final week of a short miniseries about estate planning mistakes people make which cost a lot of money and aggravation.  We hope you enjoy this week’s article, which focuses having the right document and reviewed and updated.    


Once they have their estate planning and other documents created, many people simply file them away and never look at them again. Big mistake, huge! An outdated estate plan can be as bad or even worse than having no plan at all. Your documents should be reviewed, at the very least, every two years. Why? In a word, change. Your needs and goals change; your financial situation changes; your children grow older and their needs change. The law itself is constantly changing. And even if you’ve specified a trustee or executor, the named person’s ability to follow through on your wishes may change as well. Updating your plan allows you to take these changes into account and avoid unintended consequences.


The Living Trust is a powerful estate planning tool, but to truly ensure your wishes are carried out should you become incapacitated and incapable of making decisions for yourself, some additional documents may need to be included.  For example, an Advanced Healthcare Directive can dictate how you wish to be cared for and what steps you authorize medical personnel to take to prolong your life. A HIPAA Authorization can ensure your privacy while still making crucial medical information available to the people you want to have it. A Power of Attorney for financial affairs determines in advance who will be able to make financial decisions for you. Other commonly used addendums include Pour-over Wills, Assignment of Personal Property, Community Property Agreements, Appointments of Guardianship or Conservatorship, to name a few.


If the biggest threat to preserving your wealth is not the IRS, who or what is? Frankly, it is human nature. None of us wants to think about our own deaths or the possibility of becoming incapacitated. Consequently, we tend to put off taking the steps necessary to prepare for what the future may hold. We procrastinate. And our loved ones often suffer the painful financial consequences.


We, at Secure Planning Strategies, are here to help our clients navigate around the pitfalls when it comes to estate trusts.  If you don’t want to wait for the next week’s blog article and you really want to get started today, please give us a call at: (248) 827-2580 or e-mail us at:


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