When Should I Review My Elder-Law Estate Plan?

A mistake in elder-law estate planning is failure to regularly review the plan. At a minimum, each client's estate plan should be reviewed every three years to determine whether changes in the client's personal life, such as health, assets or family history (births, deaths, marriages, divorces, etc.) might require changes to the plan. Similarly, changes in the law may lead to changes in the plan. It is unrealistic to expect a plan established today to be effective 10, 20, 30 or more years in the future.

Over time, clients may want to change their backup trustees or plan of distribution. They may wish to add inheritance trusts for their children, especially after their children start having their own children. They might, after a number of years, wish to change from a revocable trust to a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) because they were unable or unwilling to obtain long-term care insurance and the time has come to protect their assets from nursing home costs.

Gone are the days when an estate plan was a simple will done years ago that sits in a drawer or file cabinet. A proper elder-law estate plan addresses what happens when you're gone and what happens when you're still here but disabled. With periodic review, you make sure you keep your plan up to date with the law and your life.

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