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Is your estate plan current? Update it for 2017

It's 2017, and that means it's time to review your estate plan. Is everything the way it should be? Here are a few things to review to make sure it's what you want.

First, remember that some changes that took place will affect your estate plan. Did you bring a new child into the family? You may want to change your will or trusts to reflect that new family member. Did a child suffer a disability? Perhaps you need to add a disability clause or trust specifically for that child.

The death of family members, changes in your own health and even a change in your job can make it necessary to adjust your will or trusts. Fortunately, making adjustments is easy with the help of your attorney. You simply need to create amendments and produce a revised estate plan.

If you don't yet have a financial or medical power of attorney, now is the time to add one. Will it be a sibling, child or spouse? It's up to you, but you should designate who you want to be in control of your health care decisions and finances in case you can't make those decisions yourself.

Additionally, take the time to make sure all accounts have the right names and addresses on them. This can make them easier to track in the future. Otherwise, those left behind may have to search for you by every name you used, from John P. Doe to J. Doe.

Your attorney can help you if you need to change your name on multiple documents or at financial institutions; he or she may also be able to help you refresh your estate plan and look for areas where you may want to make changes.

Source: Market Watch, "Is your estate plan up to date? Check these 5 things," Melody Judge, Jan. 11, 2017

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