When it comes to your estate plan, periodic review is a necessity
Our lives are hectic, our schedules filled to overflowing with tasks and to-do lists. So I completely understand why people don’t want to go back and review something they once thought was “done,” checked-off the to-do list. However, when it comes to your estate plan, periodic review is a necessity. Change happens all the time and it’s not only the changes in your life that matter. Factors far removed from your family can trigger a need for your plan to be revised. A recent article in Investing Daily highlighted some of the issues that could trigger the need to make a change in your estate plan:
- A change in the law, especially in today’s legislative environment.
- Sickness, disease or disability affecting you, your spouse or a family member.
- Changes in the investment markets – especially those that affect interest rates or asset values.
- Trust law and strategy. What many people don’t realize is that trust law changes, and estate planning attorneys develop new trust strategies and provisions. It might be wise today to reconsider strategies that may have been rejected even a few years ago.
- Changes in personal values. Things that weren’t important to you a few years ago may be important today, or vice versa.
- Fiduciaries. Changes in your named fiduciaries could mean you need to change your plan.
- Personal matters. Of course, your estate plan needs to be revised when there’s been a major change in your family such as a marriage, divorce, death or birth of a child or grandchild. Also, changes in your health or finances could impact your estate plan, as well as moving to another state.
We have developed our own checklist that we share with clients on a regular basis. If any of these issues are relevant to your life, it may be time to schedule an estate review.
1. Marriage, remarriage or divorce
2. Death of a spouse
3. Substantial change in estate size
4. Death or incapacity of an executor, trustee or guardian
5. Move to another state
6. Acquisition of property in another state
7. Birth or adoption of a child or grandchild
8. Serious illness of a family member
9. Change in business interest or retirement
10. Change in insurability for life insurance
11. Marriage or divorce of a beneficiary
12. Change in beneficiary attitudes
13. Financial irresponsibility of a child
14. Change in tax law
15. More than two years since review of plan with attorney
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