4 Reasons You Should Review Your Estate Plan
While some people have the foresight to develop an estate plan when they are relatively young, they do themselves a disservice by thinking that simply creating an estate plan is sufficient to protect their rights and carry out their final wishes. Instead, it is prudent for most people to go over their estate plan from time to time to make sure it still aligns with their goals and complies with the applicable laws. Below, you will find four reasons you should review your estate plan on a regular basis. If you have questions about estate planning or whether your current plan needs to be updated, it is in your best interest to talk to a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer as soon as possible.
Changes in the Shape of Your Family
Families often change over time; children are born, older family members pass away, and people get married or divorce. As such, your family might not look the same as it did when you executed your estate plan, which means that it may be outdated. For example, if you had a child since you executed your will, your child may not only not be provided for in the will, but you likely also lack any directives regarding who should get custody of your child if you and your co-parent pass away. Similarly, if you got married after drafting a will, your spouse may be precluded from inheriting from your estate. Conversely, if you got divorced after executing a will, your former spouse may be granted assets you no longer wish them to have.
Changes in the Law
Tax and estate planning laws can change over the years as well, which means that the laws that applied at the time a will or trust was executed may no longer be valid, which may render portions of your will or the terms of your trust invalid as well. Further, if you move to another state, you should assess whether that state’s laws impact the validity of your estate planning tools or create new tax implications.
Changes in Your Financial Status
Most people experience some degree of fluctuation in their financial status. For example, you may have obtained or sold real estate since you created your estate plan, enjoyed a substantial increase in income or overall net worth, or started a business. If you have experienced such changes, it is wise for you to examine your estate plan to make sure that all of your assets are properly identified and that your wishes for how such assets should be distributed are clear.
Changes in Your Goals
Finally, as people age and undergo life changes, their goals often change. You may have developed an interest in making charitable donations since you created your estate plan, or you may have recognized a need to provide for a loved one with a disability or plan for challenges you may face in the future with regard to your health or finances. In such instances, it is smart to update your estate planning tools to ensure all of your goals are addressed.
Speak to a Trusted Estate Planning Attorney
While developing a comprehensive estate plan is a critical first step in ensuring people’s rights are protected and that their wishes are carried out with regard to their healthcare and assets, it is also essential that they review their plan on a regular basis to ensure that it still meets their needs. If you are interested in developing or updating an estate plan, call our office at 425-284-3450 and we would be happy to with you about your options.