If you have a will and other estate planning documents in place, you have taken a major step toward protecting your wishes, your assets, and your loved ones in the event that you get sick or pass away. Having these documents in place can be incredibly valuable when it comes to making some difficult decisions.
Having said that, creating these documents is just one part of what you can do to protect yourself and others. After doing this, there are a few other steps that can solidify your plans and prevent conflict and confusion in the future.
Revise your plans
The plans you make today may not be relevant or accurate in the future. A lot can change after you create an estate plan, so be sure you update it periodically. This Forbes article discusses seven times when it can be wise to revise an estate plan, including changes in your personal relationships and assets or liabilities.
Make it accessible
Your will, power of attorney, advance care directives, and other documents in an estate plan are important. As such, you should keep the plan secure. However, do not keep it so secure that no one knows how or where to access it. You can store the original with your attorney or in a safe inside your home. Just make sure that wherever you keep it, you tell someone trusted where it is as well as any codes or permissions needed to access it.
Talk to your family
Discussing your plan with loved ones can be uncomfortable. However, doing so gives them the opportunity to ask questions and prepare themselves. Springing decisions like guardianships, disinheritance, or specific end-of-life care requests can lead to disputes and confusion, which can only exacerbate an already difficult situation. By discussing your plans ahead of time, you can make it less likely for arguments to erupt.
These few steps can enhance the efficacy of your estate planning efforts, so it is wise not to overlook them.