It is, once again, that time of year. The time of the year where we find ourselves saying, “I cannot believe that it is December already. Where did 2015 go?” Some of us are busy reviewing the list of New Year Resolutions we made for 2015. For many, our 2015 list of resolutions has become our 2015 “to do” list, which we will carefully scan to determine what remains to be accomplished. We may find ourselves eager to complete the remaining tasks on our lists, so that we can happily cross them off our lists. Others, who never made such a list, may now find themselves creating, and scrambling to complete, a newly created “to do” list, before 2015 is but a memory.
If you have such a list and if reviewing your current estate and life care plan is already on your list, then give yourself a pat on the back for proactively thinking about your planning. If you have created both an estate and life care plan and reviewing your current plan is NOT on your “to do” list, we encourage you to add it to your list. If you have such planning in place, pull it out now and review it. Ideally, absent an intervening life changing event, individuals will get into the habit of reviewing their estate and life care plans on an approximately annual basis. As such, putting it on your annual “to do” list each year may help keep you on track. Regardless of whether reviewing your planning is already on your list; whether you are adding it to your list now; or, whether you have no list and you are now going to make it a “to do” item, we encourage you to not delay.
When reviewing your current estate and life care planning documents, we recommend that you keep the following information in mind. Since you originally created your planning, there may have been changes in the law which may have impacted your planning. The attorney that assisted you in creating your estate and life care plan, most likely, was not permanently retained to keep you advised of all law changes that may potentially affect your planning. Typically, the attorney/client relationship ends when the preparation of the plan has been completed and the attorney has closed your file; and thus, there is not an ongoing obligation to continue to advise you of law changes. As such, we strongly encourage and recommend that you (and an attorney acting on your behalf) periodically review your planning documents to be certain your planning remains consistent with your wishes and remains appropriate for you. Additionally, we suggest you review your planning documents anytime you experience a life-changing event or significant change in your financial circumstances, even if you just recently completed your regular, periodic review. In Illinois, if changes to the documents are needed or desired, mark-outs or interlineations on the original documents will NOT be effective; and, any changes that you wish to make to your planning MUST be properly executed and witnessed to effectuate the change you desire.
If you do not have such planning in place, and this post, along with the hustle and bustle of the end of the year, has motivated you to add creating an estate and life care plan to your “to do” list and to move forward with your planning, then you too should give yourself a pat on the back. As we like to say at our office, there is no time like the present to move forward with creating your estate and life care plan.
©Copyright 2015 by Constance Burnett Renzi. All rights reserved.
Our office is available for consultation regarding estate planning (including Wills and/or Trusts), life care planning (powers of attorney), special needs planning, probate, guardianship matters, Medicaid eligibility for long-term care, and/or other elder law issues. The Elder Law Center, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Illinois and is located in Aurora, IL, in the Chicago Western Suburbs. Our office can be reached via telephone (630-844-0065) or email through our website:http://www.elderlawpc.com.
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