Updating Your Estate Plan
One of the most common questions we receive is how often, and under what circumstances, should an estate plan should be reviewed and updated. There is no single answer. Documents that were validly executed many years ago will probably still be valid today from a technical standpoint. However, the documents may no longer achieve the goals that you originally had and/or your goals may have changed over the years. As a general rule, we believe it’s a good idea to review your estate plan at least every 6-8 years.
More importantly though, your plan should be reviewed based on any number of events in your life and/or changes in the law. Some of the events that may trigger the need for a review and update of your plan include, but are not limited to:
- A birth, adoption or death in your family or among your beneficiaries;
- You get married, separated or divorced;
- You have recently moved from one state to another;
- Your minor children or grandchildren have become adults;
- Your asset mix or net worth has changed, including receiving an inheritance;
- Significant estate tax changes or other changes in the law;
- You want to change fiduciaries (trustee, executor, guardian, agent);
- Major health changes for you or your beneficiaries; and
- The needs of your beneficiaries have changed (beneficiary has become disabled, spousal problems/divorce, creditor problems, substance abuse, etc.).
Another excellent reason for a review is if you just are not sure what your estate plan really provides and are not comfortable with it. One of the most important aspects of an estate plan is peace of mind. A review and explanation of your plan to determine whether it meets your goals may be an excellent investment.
Keep in mind that changes to a will (called a “codicil”) or a trust (called an “amendment”) must be drafted and executed with the same formality required for the original documents. Failure to properly draft or execute changes may cause significant estate administration problems.
Related Blog Posts
- U.S. Supreme Court Decision Reinforces Importance of Updating Beneficiary Designations After Divorce
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- Free Digital Asset Inventory Tool from Estate Map
- 5 Ways to Wreck a Good Estate Plan
The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Gottlieb, LLC is able to review your existing estate plan with you and work with you on appropriate changes. To schedule a consultation, please call us at (847) 991-2250.