The Importance of Reviewing Your Estate Plan
Estate planning is one of those things we all know we should do, but don’t necessarily enjoy. That’s probably why fewer than 50% of Americans have a formal estate plan. Of those who do, most only create an estate plan once and never look at it again. Having an outdated estate plan can be worse than no estate plan at all.
Life happens, circumstances change. Perhaps one of the fiduciaries you’ve named in your documents is no longer able to serve. Perhaps a spouse or significant other has died. Maybe you’ve gotten divorced or become estranged from your partner and no longer want them making decisions for you. Maybe your kids have grown up and no longer need funds held in trust. Or, maybe one of your kids has gotten a little lost and a plan needs to be put in place to protect assets until they’ve found their way.
We typically recommend that clients review their estate plan every three to five years, or any time there is a major life event. Here are just a few of the circumstances when you should think about changing or updating your estate plan:
- One of your fiduciaries (Personal Representative, Healthcare surrogate, etc.) has died or become disabled or otherwise is no longer the best person to serve
- Your family has grown through birth, adoption or marriage
- There has been a death or divorce in the family
- There has been a significant change in medical status for a member of your immediate family
- Your children have reached eighteen or another major milestone such as graduating from college.
- You have inherited money from a relative
- There has been a significant change in your financial status
- You’ve bought or sold an asset that was a significant part of your estate plan
Even if none of the above apply, we recommend you review your plan with an attorney every three to five years even if there hasn’t been a major change in your life because sometimes there are changes to the law that will impact your estate.
For example, did you know that there were significant changes in Florida to the laws regarding Power of Attorneys in 2011? Additionally, the Healthcare Surrogate laws were updated in 2015. If you are using older documents, it’s probably time for an update.
If it’s been more than a few years since you last reviewed your estate plan, we’re happy to help. Learn more about the estate planning process and schedule your free consultation today.
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