Every 2-3 years you should review your Estate Plan. When your Estate Planning documents were drafted, they were based on the facts, circumstances, and law in existence at that time. Those facts and circumstance may have changed since you signed them.
During the review of your Estate Plan, you should consider the following: (1) changes in your financial situation and (2) changes in your family status.
Changes in Your Financial Situation
A change in your financial situation may affect your Estate Plan. It may cause you to want to alter the disposition of your property should there be a substantial increase or decrease in the size of your estates. Additionally, a change in your financial situation may have resulted in your purchasing new assets (jewelry, car, collector’s item, etc.) that you may want to leave to someone specific. Finally, a substantial change in the size of your estates may require a change in the estate tax savings devices used in your current Estate Plan.
Changes in Your Family Status
People come and go, and relationships change. If there has been a change in your family status–such as a birth, a death, an adoption, a divorce, or a marriage–you should review your documents and determine if any change should be made due to the change in your family status.
Also, when your documents were prepared, it was done on the bases that you wanted certain people to have specified positions under your Estate Planning documents, such as executors, successor trustees, agents for your health care decisions, etc. Today, the individual(s) you want to fill these important roles may be different. For example, if you were waiting for one of your children to reach a specified age in order for them to hold a decision-making position, that may also result in a need to make a change to your Estate Plan.
Finally, as you are reviewing your Estate Plan, it would be wise to double-check that all of your properties, relevant bank accounts, stock, etc. are named in trust in order to avoid your estate having to be probated after you have passed.
If you would like more information on estate planning, or any assistance making changes to your already existing estate plan, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Office of Steven F. Schroeder, PC at (714) 480-0529 for a no-charge consultation. We are here to help you every step of the way!
Written by Brianna Giliberto-Hermann, J.D. at the Law Office of Steven F. Schroeder