Do you have an existing estate plan or estate planning documents such as powers of attorney, a last will and testament, and/or a revocable family trust agreement, and you’re not sure when you may need to review or update your plan? There are many life events that should trigger a review or update of your plan and documents, such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child or grandchild, or a significant change in the value or type of assets you own, just to name a few. A major life event that should trigger a review or update to your plan or documents is the death of a family member or loved one, in particular if the now deceased person is named in your documents as either a beneficiary or a fiduciary (such as a power of attorney, executor, trustee, guardian of minor children, etc.), or both.
Other reminders or considerations for when to review or update your estate plan include:
– Changes in tax laws
– Personal changes to how you want your assets to be distributed
– Desire to include grandchildren as beneficiaries
– Desire to change the person(s) named in fiduciary roles
– Desire to include step-children
– Update contact information (such as address or phone number) for a nominated fiduciary
One of the most common reasons a person decides to update their estate plan and documents is because they want to change their beneficiaries or named fiduciaries. This could be to include a new child, exclude or disinherit a child, to include step-children or adopted children, to change the way or at what age assets are being distributed to children, to include charitable gifts, among others. Another common reason a person should update their estate plan is to change their fiduciary nominations. This could be because their named fiduciary passed away, their children are now old enough to serve in those roles, they are now divorced and/or got remarried and want to name a new spouse as their fiduciary, or even that they simply no longer trust the person named to serve in that role.
The attorneys at Thomas Law Group recommend you review your estate plan with an attorney at least every 5-7 years, even if just to confirm that your plan and documents still accurately represent your wishes upon your death or incapacity. If you need to update your documents or want to sit down and review your existing plan to confirm it still properly expresses your wishes upon death, the attorneys at Thomas Law Group can help review or update your estate plan and your estate planning documents.