Most of us know the importance of having an estate plan, but once that is done don’t forget the very important next step: keeping it up to date! Life is unpredictable, so it is crucial to review your needs, assets, and wishes regularly to ensure that your estate plan reflects those things adequately. Geisler Law offers review every three years for all estate plans.
Events. One of the most obvious reasons to review and update your estate plan is that you’ve experienced a major change in your life. Marriage, the birth or adoption of a child, changing careers, and other big events are all important milestones that require a review of your estate plan. You will want to make sure that your plan accurately reflects your marital status, your children, and general place in life in order to prevent complications and confusion when it comes time for your estate to be administered.
People. When you first create your estate plan you will likely choose an executor for your will or a trustee to manage a trust. As time passes, you may find that you’ve changed your mind about who will administer your estate. Perhaps you selected a family friend as an executor, but now your children are adults and you’d rather appoint one of them. Someone you selected may have since moved, which would make administration inconvenient and more costly. You may have even developed concerns about someone’s judgment and ability to manage money and have a more prudent friend or family member in mind. If your children were young when you first created your plan you may want to remove guardianship provisions or perhaps select a different person as guardian. Don’t leave these concerns unanswered! Update your plan to reflect these changing relationships and needs.
Assets. One inevitable reason to update your estate plan is that your assets will change. With any luck, your bank accounts will grow, your house will increase in value, and you’ll pay off that loan. You may find yourself now subject to federal estate taxes that didn’t apply before, or perhaps the use of a trust instead of only a will is now more prudent. If you’ve received a large inheritance or gift from someone it is important to consider the estate implications of this change. Make these revisions to ensure your assets are distributed in the proper manner and in the most efficient way possible.
The Law. The last major reason to update your estate plan is, of course, the ever-changing nature of the law. Exemption levels, transfer taxes, gift exemptions, and more are in the hands of state and federal legislatures and can have a major impact on your estate plan. Keep up to date with these changes to ensure that you’re not missing out on exemptions or subjecting yourself to taxes you could easily avoid with better planning.
Is it time to update your estate plan? Contact Geisler Law today to schedule a review!