Estate Planning: When was the last time you updated your Estate Plan?
It was years ago when your children were small. You went to an attorney’s office and had a Will drawn up. All is well, right?
No. You must update your estate plan as your life progresses and changes. If your estate plan is over 10 years old, it is out of date. You can’t lock the documents away forever and never think of them again.
You should personally review them annually to be certain that there are no changes that need to be made. When there are changes, you should make an appointment with your attorney to update the documents.
First, your children are not minors any more. They don’t need guardians or conservators. Maybe you have grandchildren to think about.
Perhaps the individuals that you selected as your personal representatives are no long appropriate (or living). Your assets are much different today. There may have been marriages, births, deaths, and disabilities of family members. You might have received gifts or inheritances that need to be addressed.
The type of estate plan that you set up when your children are young and you have few assets is very different from the one that you set up when your children are young adults or when you are preparing to retire. Your assets have changed; your circumstances have changed; your life has changed.
Also, the laws have changed. In 2012 there were changes to financial powers of attorney. There have continually been changes in the laws relating to your health care power of attorney. We now are able to appoint a Funeral Representative.
The statutes relating to Revocable Trusts have undergone two major revisions, one in 2000 and one in 2010. Do your trusts reflect the changes? If they were drafted in the late 1990’s, they are very out of date.
Summer is over, the weather is cold. It’s a great time to find those documents, pull them out, dust them off and review them. It’s probably time to make an appointment with an estate planning attorney to review the changes that need to be made to get your estate plan up-to-date.