After You Have Made an Estate Plan…

Congratulations! You’ve accomplished something important for you and your family, but you are not done yet. Here are some things you will need to do to maintain your estate plan:

Check Your Beneficiary Designations

Many assets pass upon death by beneficiary designations. These assets include retirement accounts — like IRAs and 401(k)s — life insurance policies and annuities. Most major financial institutions now allow you to name a beneficiary on non-retirement investment and financial accounts as well, which is known as TOD (or transfer on death.

How Long Will Your Estate Plan Last?

It’s important to periodically review your estate plan to make sure it’s still appropriate. A good rule of thumb is to review your estate plan every five to seven years or whenever you’ve had a major life or financial change. These could include a divorce or the birth of a child or if your parent has passed away and you are receiving an inheritance. You should review your plan with an attorney who can advise you what, if any, changes may be necessary.

Where Should You Keep Original Documents?

You should keep your original documents somewhere safe either in a locked safe in your home or perhaps with your attorney. In most cases, you should avoid keeping the originals in a bank safe deposit box, unless someone other than you and your spouse is a co-signer. A court order is necessary to obtain an original will from a safe deposit box after someone dies if there is no co-signer.

Copies typically work that same way as an original. However, when someone passes, an original will still will need to be filed with the court.

Who Should Have Copies?

Give a copy of the documents to the people with important roles in the estate plan. If you do not feel comfortable doing so, at least make sure the named people know their roles and who to contact if something happens to you. The most important thing is that your loved ones know who is charge if something happens to you and where to find the documents to ensure the plan you’ve taken the time and energy to create can be properly implemented.

Does your estate plan include The Library Foundation? Would you like to? Contact Erin today to discuss how a gift to the library could be included in your plan. Send us a message at Foundation @

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