Is your estate plan up to date?

 In Blog, Estate Administration, Estate Planning, Estate Planning, Probate

Setting up an estate plan is an important thing to do, but don’t stop there. In addition to properly transferring assets to your trust, your estate plan should be “tuned up” from time to time.

Depending on the nature of the changes, you might just need an amendment, or you might need a full restatement of your trust. Regardless, it is inevitable that you will need to have it updated at some point.

Changes in the law

The law related to estate planning changes all the time. The provisions of your trust, or the type of trust you have, may become outdated, in which case a full update of the terms of your trust (a “restatement”) might be appropriate.

Changes in your assets

At the end of your trust, there should be a “Schedule A” or “Exhibit A,” which is an inventory of your assets. However, you might have acquired new property, or you might have sold property since it was drafted. In this case, you will need to update this document to reflect your current assets.

New children

You might have had children since you originally drafted your documents. You should at least update the family history section to mention their names, and you may need to make other changes.

Children come of age

When your children are young, you will not include them as successor trustee or agent for power of attorney. However, when they are older, you may want to change this so that they can manage the trust administration themselves when you are gone.

At marriage or divorce

If you have gotten married or divorced since you drafted your estate plan, you will almost certainly want to get it revised.

Death of a successor trustee or beneficiary

If someone named in your estate plan documents has passed away, you may need to update the documents accordingly.

Moved to a new state

Estate plans are drafted according to the law of the state in which the attorney practices. If you move to another state, there could be problems. You will probably want to at least update the provision regarding which state’s law applies to interpretation of the documents. Otherwise, if there is litigation down the road, it could get complicated.

Beneficiary designations

Keep track of the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts, life insurance, etc. If your beneficiary predeceases you, the funds could end up in probate. You should review these especially if you get divorced. People often name their spouse and then forget to change the designation after they are no longer married.

Any time there is a major life change, you might need to update your estate plan documents. Even if there is not a major change, the documents should be reviewed from time to time for changes in the law and to make sure they still reflect your wishes.

Helix Law Firm can help with estate planning

If you have not updated your estate plan for a while, we can help. We will look over your existing documents, make sure you know what it currently says (some people are mistaken on the contents), and make a recommendation.

If you’re interested in learning more, please call us at (619) 567-4447 to schedule a free consultation.

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