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When should I review my Estate Planning Documents

Posted by attorney Peter Antonoplos

Ideally, an estate plan, including the documents, titling of assets, and beneficiary designations should be reviewed annually. Items that should be considered when reviewing your estate plan include the following:

A. Change in Personal Circumstances. Such changes include the marriage, divorce, or remarriage of you and/or your children, the disability of a beneficiary, or marriage of a child to an untrustworthy spouse.

B. Change in Assets. This includes any changes in income or assets, including receipt of an inheritance or substantial gift. Titling of assets is important. If new assets are acquired, it is important to review whether they should be in the name of the husband, the wife, or in a living trust for either or both of the spouses.

C. Beneficiary Designations. Beneficiary designations should be reviewed on an annual basis. Life insurance, annuities, and retirement plans do not pass under a Will or a Trust, but pass by beneficiary designation. If the designation is incorrect, your plan will be defeated.

D. Personal Representative. Annually review the persons you have designated asPersonal Representative and SuccessorPersonal Representative, Trustee and Successor Trustee, Health Care Representative and Successor Health Care Representative, Agent under Power of Attorney and Successor Agent under Power of Attorney. Has your relationship with any of these people changed? Are the named persons still willing and able to perform their duties?

E. Changes in Law that Affect your Estate Planning. Seldom does a year go by without some change, major or minor, in laws that affect estate planning. By reviewing your estate plan annually, compliance with new laws can be assured.

Additional resources provided by the author

Peter D. Antonoplos, Esq. is a partner in the Law Offices of Peter D. Antonoplos, PLLC. Mr. Antonoplos’ practice focuses estate planning and real estate matters. Mr. Antonoplos is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, New York State; and State of Maryland. Mr. Antonoplos routinely lectures on real estate and probate law issues in Washington, DC and New York. Mr. Antonoplos lives in North West Washington, D.C. He is an avid chess player and motorcycle enthusiast. He may be reached at 202-803-5676 or

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