Is it time to review your client’s estate plan? Use this checklist as a guide

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Is it time to review your client’s estate plan? Use this checklist as a guide

Estate planning is an important component of the services you provide for your clients.

But an estate plan is not a “set it and forget it” matter. Instead, it requires continued periodic attention to ensure it continues to be an accurate reflection of the client’s wishes.

Even after the will and documents such as powers of attorney and trusts have been drawn up, there will be instances when it becomes necessary to make changes.

Most often, these will be triggered by major life events experienced by the client. These include:

  • Getting married or entering into a common-law partnership.
  • Getting divorced or separated.
  • Death of the spouse, a child, beneficiary or executor.
  • The addition of a child or grandchild.
  • Estrangement of a beneficiary or circumstances where it may be decided to remove a person from the will, or change the terms (for example, to establish a trust).
  • A move to another province or country.
  • A major change to financial circumstances, either positive or negative, such as an inheritance, sale of a key asset or declaration of bankruptcy.
  • A major change to the client’s business.
  • Any event that may make it desirable or necessary to change an executor, such as divorce (when the spouse is executor), relocating to another country, health issues or death.

Ask the right questions

Be aware that it is the rare client who will be proactive and contact you with any of this information; most people go years or even decades without reviewing their will.

It is therefore important to develop a plan for scheduling periodic check-ins so you can determine if any events have occurred that might call for an estate plan review.

Whether during a regular formal annual review, a casual phone call or as part of your email program, ask specific questions and explain the types of events that might warrant changes to their estate plan.

And remember, Carte Wealth Management is here to help. Our team of lawyers and tax experts are here to support you with their expertise, and Carte Core CRM system helps you deploy client email and keep track of key life events and important changes to your clients’ circumstance.