Personal Annual Financial Review Part 5: Estate Planning

Finally we will examine your estate documents. At a minimum everyone should have a will, living will, medical power of attorney, and financial power of attorney. These need to be kept up-to-date and an annual review of the documents makes sure your intentions are legally stated!


  • Make sure all major assets are covered. This includes Home(s), car(s), investment accounts, bank accounts, etc.
  • Make sure all listed assets are going to the people you want to have them in the event if your death.
  • Make sure your will follows estate laws (attorney review is recommended for this!)
Living Will:
  • Make sure the person you list as a decision maker to turn off life support in the case of extended coma or unconsciousness is still the person you want to have this power.
Medical Power of Attorney:
  • Make sure the person listed on this document is correct.
  • Make sure the powers given are explicit and clear.
Financial Power of Attorney:
  • Make sure the person listed on this document is correct and is someone you trust with your money.
Investment and Bank Accounts:
  • Check all beneficiaries on IRA accounts, trusts, employer retirement plans, pensions, and payable on death accounts. Make any changes you need to be sure your money is still going to the right people.
Estate Planning is the least fun part of managing finances. It is very important as you want to be sure your assets go to those that you actually want to have them. It makes things a lot easier for your loved ones in a very tough time.

Life Events that would cause you to change these documents:
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Death of a Spouse or Partner
  • Death of other friends or family members
  • Having/Adopting Children
  • Changes in what your wishes are
  • Buying or selling major assets such as real estate, collectibles, etc
Keeping your estate planning documents up to date does not take long. As always it is a good idea to seek professional help when making changes to be sure that everything is legally sound and will not give rise to a dispute in court. Reviewing them annually ensures your wishes are met!