Care & Feeding of Your Estate Plan

estate and lawyer/notary bindersHow to Maintain & Update Your Estate Plan

Creating your estate is not a “one and done” proposition. While you will be able to breathe a sigh of relief after working with an experienced estate planning attorney to set up your estate, you shouldn’t set the binder aside and go about your business. Although estate plans protect your loved ones and legacy after you pass, they are living, breathing documents that should be updated whenever significant changes occur. 

After your trust is fully funded, the binder should provide a critical storehouse of key information about your assets, to ease administration for your family. It should be stored safely, reviewed regularly, and updated when necessary to avoid confusion when your loved ones need to refer to planning with related word cloud on blackboard

Most people fail to understand that estate plans and future financial plans are two different things, of equal importance. An estate planning binder contains special information relative to last wishes and instructions for what steps should be taken if you become incapacitated or die. One of the parameters set is to name the person who will be in charge at such a time. However, your estate planning binder is not the same thing as your financial plan. Your financial plan is a comprehensive list of your current assets as well as plans for adding to those assets.

Storing an Estate Planning Binder

3D illustration of the image of a folder with the lockYour estate planning binder should be kept in a safe place along with other important financial information. You could store it in a safe deposit box at a bank or in a fireproof strong box at your home. While you can photocopy or scan the documents for reference, the original documents have legal significance. So, safeguard your originals. 

Estate Planning Binder Access

You may want to limit direct access to the binder until circumstances require someone else stepping in to take control. If you keep the binder in a safe deposit box, for example, you could keep a spare key in your home or office and notify your attorney, next of kin, or successor trustee about the key’s location. Financial institution policies vary in regard to safety deposit access rights.

Reviewing the Estate Plan

Your financial situation is likely to evolve with time and other powerful and unexpected life events can shift your priorities and potentially necessitate adjusting your estate plan:Only thing constant in life is change

  • Death of a spouse or life partner
  • New marriage
  • Birth
  • Illness or accident that affects your child’s future
  • Sudden job loss
  • Business success
  • A spiritual epiphany
Significant changes to business may necessitate a change in your estate.

Significant changes to your business may require a change in your estate.

As a rule, Skvarna Law recommends reviewing your estate plan as follows:

  • Quick annual review
  • Thorough personal review every year, or with your favorite estate planning attorney, every three to five years
  • Any time you experience a significant increase or impact to income or wealth
  • Any other time you consider making a change of who to name in your estate plan

Keeping your estate planning binder secure and up to date will reduce confusion as well as the likelihood of disputes.  Whatever your circumstances, rest assured that the legal professionals at Skvarna Law can help you to determine the best way to handle your trust. Skvarna Law Firm operates offices in Glendora and Upland, California and provides legal services for individuals living in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties. This includes the cities of Upland, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Colton, Rialto, Chino, Chino Hills, Glendora, Claremont, Montclair, Pomona, La Verne, San Dimas, Azusa, Covina, West Covina, Diamond Bar, Walnut, La Puente, Corona, Norco & Mira Loma. Visit to learn more.