1. Check trust funding. Trusts are often used to preserve privacy, minimize estate taxes or administration expenses, or transfer assets to beneficiaries according to specific wishes. If you have executed a trust, consult with your attorney and financial advisor to determine which assets should be owned by your trust or should have the trust named as a beneficiary.
2. Account for any life changes. Have you experienced personal or financial changes since you executed your estate documents—for instance, the arrival of a new family member or a significant increase in assets? If so, be sure to update your documents to reflect those changes and take advantage of asset protection measures, if necessary.
3. Update beneficiary designations. Outdated beneficiary designations can derail an estate plan. Review your designations to ensure that the correct people are named, rather than a deceased family member or ex-spouse.
4. Review trustee and agent appointments. While reviewing your beneficiary designations, also reevaluate who you have appointed as executor of your estate, trustee of your trust, or as your agent under your powers of attorney for health care and finances. Are the people you named still ready to carry out your wishes? Will they be capable of administering your assets in an appropriate manner?