So many things in life come with built-in expiration dates. Some, such eggs, milk, and cheese, are clearly stamped, while other common items (everything from spices, fire extinguishers, lipstick, to hard liquor) lose their quality or effectiveness over time, but don’t have a clear “best used by” date on them.
So, how about an estate plan? If your running shoes can expire, how about important legal documents? This is a common and certainly valid question.
As bill-paying Americans, it seems par-for-the-course that like everything else, we need to routinely file paperwork, with payment(s), to keep coverage in place. Fortunately, estate planning documents do not expire. Once valid, such legal documents are effective for, well, for as long as you want. This includes all documents that could (and probably should) be in your estate plan, such as a will, health care power of attorney, financial power of attorney, instructions for disposition of personal property, and instructions for final disposition of remains.
You will never receive a notice in the mail that your carefully crafted estate plan is set to expire in 30 days if you don’t submit another signed form or check payment. However, I highly recommend revisiting your estate plan annually to make certain life changes over the past year are appropriately reflected. For example, having a child, getting married or divorced, moving to another state, changes in financial circumstances, and other major life events necessitate revisiting your estate plan. After all, estate planning documents can be changed up until the moment you pass away.
Since these legal documents do not expire, there’s no better time than now to get started on your estate plan. The best place to start? Download my Estate Plan Questionnaire; it’s free and provided at no obligation!