For many aging New York residents, the biggest part of estate planning may not be creating it but rather in keeping it up-to-date. Often, if the documents have not been reviewed in a while, the information within ends up being outdated, but this fact is only discovered after it is too late. Frequent review of an estate plan is crucial to ensuring that an individual’s most recent intentions are executed.

When it comes time to update estate planning documents, individuals may wish to first consider whether their net worth has grown enough to warrant drawing up a new, more sophisticated plan. Another issue to address is whether the beneficiaries named within a will, trust or insurance policy are still applicable or whether there have been any recent additions or changes to the family, such as births, deaths or divorces. Common advice recommends reviewing these documents as often as once a year or whenever a major life change occurs, such as the birth of a grandchild, as the best method of ensuring that an individual’s current wishes are reflected.

Of course, if the individual in question does not already have an estate plan, preparing one may need to become a priority. Passing away without having a will is known as dying intestate and can lead to a number of complications. When it comes time to prepare estate documentation, a net worth statement can prove helpful, as will a list of intended heirs. An attorney can offer more advice into what other information may be necessary.

In addition to an estate plan, a New York elder law attorney can also offer knowledgeable legal counsel into other aspects of financial planning for aging. Careful planning can provide peace of mind for both the individual and his or her loved ones. Whether an individual needs to begin the estate planning process for the first time or is looking to review and make changes to an existing estate plan, an experienced lawyer can help provide valuable insight and guidance.

Source:, “Parents aging and us: How to prepare (Part 2)“, Dawn Doebler, May 3, 2017