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Is it time to review your estate plan?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2023 | Probate & Estate Planning

The importance of reviewing and updating your estate plan

Once you have completed an estate plan, it is important to review the plan periodically to address changes to your circumstances, or to the laws.  The estate plan reflects your situation at the time of execution of the documents, as well as the laws in place at that time and place.  The events of marriage, divorce, having children, moving to a different state or country, significant increase or decrease in assets, changed investment vehicles, and death of family members, named beneficiaries, joint owners, co-business owners or co-property owners are just some of the events which merit a review of your documents.  In the absence of such changes, it is a good idea to review your plan every few years.

The effect of your documents may no longer meet your needs, and without review, you may not realize this.

Some examples include that marriage or divorce may invalidate a will, depending upon the state you live in at the time of your death.  Young children require someone to take care of them in the event of the parents’ death, and you may be able to name that person in your will.  Young children also require someone to hold and administer their assets at least until they reach the age of majority, and you may name a Trustee to do so, and you may also include trust provisions governing what the Trustee may and may not do.  If your assets considerably increase you may be best served by including tax minimization provisions.  If your assets considerable decrease you may leave out some gifts to increase the inheritance of closer or needier family members or friends.  If a beneficiary you have named predeceases you, you have an opportunity to make sure you address that change in either your will, or on a beneficiary designated asset such as an IRA.

These types of changes can have a major effect on what happens to your estate and should be carefully considered.