19:22 23 March in Estate Planning, Will Execution



So, you’ve got your estate plan ready?  Great!  You’ve taken an important step in the protection of your family and your legacy, but don’t make the mistake of resting on your laurels.  An estate plan is a powerful tool, but over time, changes to your situation can weaken it.  We usually recommend that you review your estate plans every year or every other year.  So much can happen so quickly, and it is important that you are updating your plans to reflect any changes.  Here are just a few of the events which could justify the creation of an updated estate plan:

  • New family members: Whether this new addition is a child, a grandchild, or the spouse of a child or grandchild, they should be taken into account when you review your estate plans.  You should also take into account those children and grandchildren who have reached the age of majority since your last update.
  • The death of someone named in your documents: If someone dies before you who was named in your estate planning documents (a beneficiary, trustee, personal representative, health care surrogate, etc.), then you should definitely make changes to reflect this.
  • Marriage or divorce: A spouse who is not named in your estate plan can still make a claim against your estate as a “pretermitted spouse” if there is no pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement in place.  A divorce will automatically void any provisions or a spouse, but is is still a good idea to update your estate plan to avoid any delays or confusion.
  • Significant move: You will want to review your estate plan if you move to a different state or a different country.  Estate planning laws can and do differ significantly from state to state, and foreign countries can have very different rules.
  • Change in financial situation: Whether this change is positive or negative, you should want your estate plan to reflect it.  It is possible to end up naming assets in your will or trust which you no longer own.  Similarly, you could end up with an estate plan which fails to account for recently acquired assets.
  • New or updated laws: Legislation frequently changes at both the state and the federal level, and tax law is notoriously mercurial.  You need to have an experienced estate planning specialist reviewing your plan to ensure that it accounts for any changes in the law.  Failure to do so can end up causing damage to your estate, and it can even hurt your beneficiaries financially after you are gone.

Even if you haven’t experienced any of the changes listed above, it is still a good habit to review your estate plans on an annual or biennial basis.

Contact Us For More Information On Estate Plans

Please feel free to contact our offices if you have more questions about estate planning and how it can help you.  We would be happy to schedule you a free consultation with an estate planning attorney.