You may have executed an estate plan as a young adult, and now it has been languishing, collecting dust in the back of your filing cabinet. However, estate planning is not a set-it-and-forget it process. The following are four reasons to periodically review your estate plan and ensure it is up to date.
Reason 1: You moved out-of-state
It is not unusual for a person to move out-of-state, for example, for a new job opportunity or to live in an area with a better cost of living. However, if you move to a new state after executing an estate plan, you will want to review your existing plan to ensure it is still legally compliant. Different states have different laws regarding the execution of a will, inheritance requirements and estate or inheritance taxes. It is important to update your estate plan in such situations, to make sure it complies with the laws of your new domicile.
Reason 2: Changes in family relationships
Families go through changes over the years. A new child or grandchild may be born, you may get a divorce, your spouse may pass away or you may remarry. Any of these changes warrant a review of your estate plan. You may want to include these new family members in your will or trust, or you may want to remove them from your will, trust or as a beneficiary to a financial account or insurance policy. After all, most people do not want their ex to inherit their estate!
Reason 3: You have experienced a change in assets or debts
Over the years you may obtain many valuable assets, or conversely may have disposed of assets. Thus, your estate plan should reflect these changes. After all, you cannot give away what you no longer owe. Similarly, debts can lower the value of your estate, so if you have taken on debt following the execution of your estate plan, you should review your estate plan to ensure it reflects this.
Reason 4: A change in executor or trustee is necessary
The executor or trustee of your estate or trust is the person who will carry out the terms of your estate plan. It is important to ensure that this person is able to do so. Some people choose a relative to fulfill this role while others turn to professionals such as an attorney or a financial professional. However, if your chosen executor or trustee is no longer able to fulfill that role, due to death or some other reason, it is important to select a new executor or trustee and modify your estate plan accordingly.
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In the end, it is important not to put your estate plan on the backburner. Instead, you should periodically review your estate plan in order to ensure it still meets your needs and the needs of your heirs. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. We encourage you to visit our firm’s website for further information about our services.