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Estate planning process shouldn’t end when documents are signed

Many Illinois residents want to protect their assets and provide for their loved ones after they die or in the event that they become incapacitated. However, many err when it comes to estate planning because they think that once they sign their documents, they do not have to give their plans another thought. In reality, careful planning should always include periodic review of an existing plan.

It is helpful to ask an experienced estate planning attorney to review a plan to see if there are any changes or updates needed. An estate owner could easily overlook a particular issue that an experienced attorney is likely to catch. Failing to update a plan can lead to serious legal complications down the line.

Numerous issues can prompt a need to update a plan. Marriage, divorce, birth of a child, adoption or death of an heir or beneficiary are just a few. Another reason to change a plan might be that an estate owner wants to incorporate a particular document that he or she left out of the initial plan, such as an advance health care directive.

Certain estate planning documents cannot be changed once they are signed, such as an irrevocable trust. The best thing to do if questions arise regarding what can and cannot be changed is to request a consultation with an experienced Illinois estate law attorney. Keeping a plan updated is a key factor in helping loved ones and other heirs or beneficiaries avoid legal problems when an estate is administered.