Ontario residents who have taken steps to plan the execution of their estates after they pass away may need to consider reviewing and revising the relevant documents occasionally. Estate plans may need revision every few years as circumstances change.
For example, changes in the size of a family might require revisions to an established plan. Family members may have been added by marriage or birth, or they may have been lost due to death or divorce. When these changes occur, a person may need to review and make changes to the beneficiaries who are named in a will or trust. In addition, as relationships change over time, the individual may need to reconsider who is named as an executor to the estate or administrator of a trust.
A change in assets is another reason to revisit estate planning, and tax laws may have changed, making certain trusts less effective at protecting a person's wealth as it is transferred to beneficiaries. Additionally, Individuals should keep in mind that after a year has passed, institutions may not honour a general power of attorney because many of the things listed above might have changed, and documents providing health care power of attorney and financial power of attorney might last longer.
An estate plan is more than just a will and financial directives and should also include a living will. Individuals should keep in mind that their ideas about this may change over time just as the people and laws change around them. For example, an individual may decide that they wish to drop a do-not-resuscitate order later in life.
An attorney who is familiar with estate planning may be able to help a client review the documents and help make changes that make the strategy more effective. Such an attorney could also provide advice and guidance to individuals who are attempting to plan the execution of their estates for the first time.
Source: Explorer News, "Six reasons to take a fresh look at your estate plan", June 25, 2014