When to Update Your Estate Plans
Estate planning is not something that should wait until you are 60 years old. Instead, as soon as you are married or have established your career, you must start planning for the future and what your family will be left to deal with. Once you have a plan in place, such as a will, trust, durable power of attorney, living will, healthcare surrogate designation, deeds and insurance policies, you need to come back to it over the years. What you develop in your late 20s or early 30s may not be what you want or your family needs when you are 50 or 75 years old.
Occurrences that Should Trigger an Estate Plan Review
You should review your will and other estate planning documents after:
- The birth or adoption of a child
- Acquisition of new assets
- Sale or gift of assets
- Major financial issues
- A child (or all of your children) turn 18 years old
- A named executor or beneficiary becomes incapacitated
- The death of an intended beneficiary or executor
- Moving to a new state
- A divorce
- Changes to federal or state tax laws
- Opening or closing a business
- Incapacity or death of attorney-in-tact
- Incapacity or death of healthcare surrogate
Anytime you go through a significant life change, such as having a child, starting a business, or divorcing, you need to review all your estate plan documents or change the people you appointed in your advanced directives. You should make changes based on your current situation. The changes may be minor or you may rewrite your entire will. You may need to revoke or adjust the terms of a trust. You also may need to revise the beneficiaries on your life insurance policy and retirement investments.
Review Your Estate Plans Regularly
You may go through a number of these changes over the years, which require you to review your end-of-life plans. However, when things are going well for years, you may put your will in a drawer and forget about it. This is poor planning on your part.
In addition to major life events, you, your spouse, and your close family members should review your estate plan regularly over the years. If you have not reviewed your will and other end-of-life plans in the past five years. Now is the time to do so. Consider how your situation has changed. Consider how your desires for what you leave your family has changed. You may wish to keep everything the same, yet you also may realize more things have changed that you thought and it is time to revise your will. You may also realize you intended to change a beneficiary and never got around to it.
Routinely reviewing your estate plans with an experienced lawyer also ensures you catch mistakes and are up-to-date on relevant changes to state and federal law that could impact your estate.
Let an Experienced Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Help You
The best way to revisit your estate plan is to work with an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. in West Palm Beach. An attorney can thoroughly review the plans you have in place, discuss how circumstances have changed, and help you ensure your plans coincide with your current situation and what you want.
To learn more about effective estate planning, call 561-571-8970 to schedule a consultation.