Texas Family Law Attorneys: Annually Updating Your Estate Plan



The family law attorneys at the Law Office of Dana L. White wish to remind you to review and update your Estate Plan every year as life, goals, relationships, assets, and the laws that govern these instruments typically change. We recommend you review the following:

  • Beneficiary Designations – Review your beneficiary designations for each of your assets/accounts falling outside your Will, including life insurance policies, retirement plans, IRAs, bank/savings accounts/annuities. Verify that your beneficiaries remain consistent with your estate plan.
  • Transfer on Death Deeds - Have you purchased a new home or other real property in Texas? If so, you should consider executing a Transfer on Death Deed, allowing you to automatically transfer your real property directly to your named beneficiary upon death without probating a Will.
  • Information for Executors/Agents/Family – Create and/or update a “Will Memorandum,” organizing your assets, updating any new accounts, passwords, bank account numbers, insurance policies, etc. Also, ensure your Executor can gain access to your original Will.
  • Executors/Agents/Trustees/Guardians – Do you need to make any changes regarding your representatives/agents? Have any of your named representatives passed away, become ill, disabled, or incapacitated, or have other relevant changes in circumstances?
  • Beneficiaries of Will/Trust—Does your Will/Living Trust continue to reflect your wishes regarding beneficiaries and distribution of assets correctly? Have you married or divorced? Do you have any new children/grandchildren?
  • Living Trust Assets - Verify that you have titled all your assets, including any new ones, into the trust’s name. If you miss retitling your assets, your trust may not be operational as you intended.
  • Trustee Designations - Does your Will/Living Trust provide the correct timing for distributing your assets to beneficiaries? Are your beneficiaries ready to control their inheritance, or should a Trustee manage these assets? Are updates needed on the ages under which heirs will inherit? Have any children become adults?
  • Agent’s Access to Financial Institutions – In the event of your incapacity or disability, ensure your agent has the proper credentials to access your accounts. Check with your banks to inquire about their policies for giving agents access to such accounts.

You should also update your estate plan at such life events as:

    • Purchasing a home or other significant asset
    • Large increases/decreases in the value of assets, i.e., investments
    • Receipt of a large inheritance or gift
    • Career change (new job/promotion and opening/closing a business
    • Changes in tax laws

Reviewing your plan regularly helps ensure that your legacy, both financial and otherwise, is passed on to your heirs in accordance with your wishes. Should you need to create or update your estate plan, please call us for a consultation at 817.917.8121.

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