Five Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

Mar 7, 2019
Estate Planning Trust Management & Settlement
Updating Your Estate Plan
Time to Update Your Estate Plan?

Important Reasons to Review and Update Your Estate Plan

Let’s assume you are among the approximately 30% of adults who have done the prudent thing and established your Estate Plan.  Perhaps you simply created a Will.  Have you had it professionally reviewed in recent years? Make sure your plan is still the most suitable for your current estate and goals?

Alternatively, do you have a Living Trust in place?  If your trust documents and powers of attorney are over 5 years old, you may want to consider consulting with an estate planning attorney to see if your plan needs updating.

These are the top 5 reasons why you would want to update your plan:

  1. Changes in the Estate Tax Exemption: Since 2001, we have seen the federal estate tax exemption rise incrementally from $675,000 to $5.45 million.  As a result many estate plans contain unnecessary administrative and estate tax planning requirements. These requirements can place an undue burden on your loved ones.
  2. Changes in your relationships with your trustees and beneficiaries: If the nature of your relationship with any of your appointed successor trustees or beneficiaries has changed for the worse, consider removing them from your Estate Plan. Or in the case of a beneficiary change, the way your estate would be received.
  3. Your beneficiaries have issues:  If your designated beneficiaries have financial issues, substance abuse problems or are disabled and eligible for government benefits, you will want to adjust your Estate Plan. Make sure your estate will be used to improve their situation and not make it worse.
  4. Divorce:  Obviously, if you get divorced or separated from the spouse currently in your Estate Plan, you will need to create a new Estate Plan to reflect your current marital status.  This is especially critical now that your risk for having your estate probated if you pass on is much higher now that you are single.
  5. Changes in applicable laws: State and Federal legislatures are continuously creating new laws and regulations.  Between 2001 and 2010 there have been at least half a dozen law changes that could affect parts of your Estate Plan.  A simple and inexpensive estate planning review could alert you if any of these law changes could have a positive or negative impact on the effectiveness of your plan.