When you create your estate plan, you pick an executor. It’s one thing to write out the plan, but you must remember that you won’t be around to put it into action, so you need someone to do that on your behalf. You want to talk to them first and make sure they’re up for the job.
Additionally, you want to remember to update your executor or have repeated conversations with them as things change. You may need to pick a new person entirely.
For instance, many people pick their spouses. If they die in a car accident on the way to work — or in some other unexpected fashion — they know their spouse can handle it. However, when they get divorced, they may forget to update the executor, still listing their ex. That’s a big issue.
Or, maybe you picked your oldest change because they lived nearby and would easily be able to communicate with your other children. Since then, however, the two of you had a falling out. Your eldest child moved halfway across the country and you never speak. You’re not going to cut them out of the will, but it may be wise to switch to another child as the executor.
These are just a few examples of why you may need to update the paperwork, and every situation is unique. But it should at least show you how important this is, and experts say that failing to update the documents is one of the biggest estate planning mistakes. Make sure you know what steps to take to keep your plan current.