Although having an estate plan in place is vital, it is also important to review it and make any necessary updates on a regular basis. Ever-changing state and federal inheritance and income tax law can affect your estate plan in both positive and negative ways. Consulting with your estate planning attorneys at least once a year, when a major life event happens or when you’re aware of changes in the law ensures that you can take advantage of valuable planning opportunities that may save your beneficiaries money and maximize their inheritance.
Reviewing Your Estate Plan
Circumstances change frequently in life. The birth of a new child, divorce, the passing of a spouse or making changes to a business succession plan are all good reasons to promptly bring your estate plan up to date. Asking yourself these questions can help you determine whether or not you should contact your wills and trusts lawyers to do a thorough review.
- Have you recently been divorced or married?
- Has a new child or grandchild joined your family?
- Have your children moved out or back into your home?
- Have your children been married or divorced?
- Have any beneficiaries or the executor of your will died?
- Has your relationship with any beneficiaries or executors changed significantly?
- Has the physical or mental health of your beneficiaries or executor declined?
- Have you moved to a different state?
- Have your financial circumstances changed significantly?
- Have you purchased any major assets such as vehicle?
- Have you sold, bought or mortgaged real estate or a business?
- Have you received an inheritance?
- If you own a business, has anything changed? (passing of a partner, selling of a business)
- Have you bought or sold a significant amount of stocks, bonds or other financial products?
- Have changes in federal or state laws affected your tax and estate planning?
- Have you changed your mind about what you want to do with certain assets?
- Would you like to change your amount of charitable giving?
- Do your beneficiaries need protection from creditors?
- Have you thought about setting up trusts for beneficiaries?
- Have your thoughts changed on who will make your financial, medical and end-of-life decisions in the event of your incapacitation?
- Do you want to alter your specified arrangement plans in the event of your death?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, sit down with your probate and estate lawyers to talk about which types of changes (if any) should be made in your estate plan. It is also essential to update the contact information for executors, beneficiaries, trustees, business associates, financial planners and any others who may be involved in your estate plan. Making sure your estate plan is accurate and updating this information will give you peace of mind and make it easier on your family when it comes time to settle your estate.
At Carosella & Associates, our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you create or update an estate plan that benefits you and your family.