Real Estate Plan Maintenance

Real estate planning is one of the critical elements of a comprehensive financial plan. Who inherits the assets, how the assets are to be used or disbursed, and how best to minimize taxes are all questions estate planning can address. Thus, considering these questions as part of a plan is critical, but as critical are a few small steps you can take to ensure that all documents impacted by your estate plan are up-to-date and are in alignment with your plan.

A few of the steps you can take are as follows:


Certain types of assets including retirement accounts and insurance policies typically allow beneficiaries to be named, and those beneficiaries inherit the asset should the account owner pre-decease them. From time-to-time it is necessary to change beneficiaries, most often due to death of a named beneficiary or divorce. Don't forget to check beneficiaries on all relevant accounts, including insurance policies and employer retirement plans.


At a minimum, in our opinion an estate plan should include a will, a financial (or durable) power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney. The first two documents should be kept in a secure location, typically a safety deposit box, but you'll want to keep the medical power of attorney in a location that is accessible at any time. If you need treatment that only the person granted your medical power-of-attorney can authorize, you'll want that person to be able to present the power-of-attorney to the treating hospital at any time. Lastly, make sure that those acting as your executor and financial power of attorney are aware of the location and have access to the relevant documents.

Executor and Power-of-Attorney

As with named beneficiaries, it makes sense to review who you've chosen as your executor, as well as to whom you've granted powers-of-attorney to ensure that they are still willing and able to function in the capacity in question. Additionally, be sure that those you've chosen to serve in these roles are aware that you would like them to act in the chosen capacity. While it is certainly flattering to be chosen for a position of such trust, some may not feel comfortable with the responsibility it entails.

While estate planning isn't the most cheerful topic to contemplate, knowing that your affairs are in order does bring some peace-of-mind.

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