You Need To Review Your Estate Planning documents Regularly.
There is a tendency to view elder law estate planning as a
static process i.e. once done don’t need to do anything more. However,estate
planning is rarely a one-time event. Besides accounting for legal changes, the
plan must be modified to account for life changes — birth, death, divorce,
finances and health.
Even the best of plans may be obsolete by the time they are
needed, sometimes many years later. At a minimum, an estate plan should be
reviewed every three years to see if any life or law changes affect it.
Over time, clients may want to change their backup trustees
or plan of asset distribution. They may wish to add inheritance trusts to keep
assets in the family. They might wish to change from a revocable trust to an
Irrevocable (Medicaid Friendly) Trust because they were unable or unwilling to
obtain adequate long-term care insurance. Assets for married couples may have
grown to more than $1 million and the couple may need estate tax protection.
A systematic updating approach allows the client to have a
plan better suited to their current needs. Periodic review reduces the chance
of broken elder law estate plans.
If you're competent, you can always update your plan by
either amending a trust or signing a new will, power of attorney or health care
If you are not competent but have an elder law power of
attorney with broad gifting powers, your agent under the power of attorney may
create, amend or revoke a trust, and make other changes in your best interest,
including protecting assets from nursing home costs. The goal is to avoid the
last resort, which is a court proceeding to fix a broken plan, or worse, having
a plan whose purpose is defeated.