10 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

An estate plan is one of the most important documents you will draft, but doing it once is not enough. A good estate plan is a dynamic document that needs to be reviewed to make sure it keeps up with your changing life, relationships and finances as well as the current tax and estate laws. 

Over time, many things can change. The person you had in place as your power of attorney may no longer be able to serve, you may inherit new wealth, or you can sell your business, you may remarry or have new children.  

There are a number of reasons that warrant a closer review of your estate plan.  Here are some of the most common reasons your estate plan may be due for a review.

1. It’s too old. An estate plan that is more than three years old or so needs an update or a review.

2. Tax laws have changed. If there are tax law changes, you need to update your estate plan to address those changes.

3. Significant changes in the amount and type of assets in your estate. You may have sold a business or stock options or received an inheritance. These changes warrant a review to make sure that your estate plan is still appropriate to minimize taxes and make the distributions that you want.

4. You’ve moved to another state. Each state has its own set of laws concerning estate plans, and your new state may have inheritance or estate taxes or laws about how much of an estate a spouse must inherit.

5. You no longer want to leave your estate to the same person. Relationship change and you should periodically check that your listed beneficiaries are still the people you want to inherit your estate. This is especially true when relationships such as marriage or business partnerships come to an end.

6. If you live in a state where common law marriages are not recognized, your longtime domestic partner may not receive your assets after you die. It’s important to include that in your estate plan to ensure that your common law partner is financially protected as part of your estate plan.

7. A new child in the family may require changes to your estate plan to include that baby, whether it is your child or grandchild, if you want to provide for them in your estate plan. 

8. There are some cases where you feel a spouse or child should be disinherited from your estate plan, especially if you worry that your assets will be wasted on drug or gambling addictions.

9. If a beneficiary passes away, it’s important to revise your Will and estate plan, changing the way you distribute your property.

10. An illness spurs you to make changes to your advanced health care directive or power of attorney for finance so the appropriate people are there to assist you through any period of disability or illness.

No matter what the revisions you decide to make during a review, it’s vital to go over them with an estate planning attorney.  An attorney such as the experienced lawyers at Solan, Park & Robello can help you draft the right paperwork to update your estate plan accordingly.

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Solan, Park & Robello

Solan, Park & Robello is a full-service probate and estate planning firm offering experienced counsel in a wide range of estate planning matters—from preparation to administration to litigation.

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