The only thing worse than not having an estate plan, is not regularly updating one to reflect life changes, tax considerations or other events that might significantly affect your interests. It’s your legacy, why not ensure your wishes are honored and your property is protected for the benefit of your loved ones and beneficiaries?
One of the best times to revise an estate plan is at the beginning of a new year. Any pertinent events from the previous year, or since the last time your estate documents were addressed, could be incorporated with the idea of getting a head start on the year to come. Further, as families gather for the holidays, estate-related discussions could help clarify any decisions that need to be made.
Let us share with you several important reasons to keep in mind for updating an estate plan in the new year that we share with our clients, friends, family, and advisors.
- Marriage or Divorce. If you or someone named in your will, trust or other estate documents was married or divorced since the last time your estate plan was updated, then you may want to consider revisiting it. A marriage or divorce does not automatically apply to your existing estate provisions.
- Birth of a Child or Grandchild. The birth of a child is truly a wonderful event, and children make the holiday season all the more enjoyable. Be sure to add them to your estate plan. In addition to providing for their future, you may also want to talk to your estate planning attorney about how to potentially name a legal guardian in case something were to happen to the child’s parents.
- Changing Your Mind. There are almost limitless reasons why the person who created an estate plan might change their mind. Perhaps estate goals changed, or he or she would like to designate a different trustee or personal representative to his or her will, or maybe include a charity. The point is that an estate plan should reflect current wishes, not those of the past.
Others reasons to update an estate plan in the new year may include:
- A death in the family.
- An injury.
- Moving to a state with different estate laws.
- Children or grandchildren reaching age 18.
- A large increase or decrease in assets.
- Major health concerns.
- Market fluctuations.
- Changing tax laws.
There are many other reasons to update your plan, especially if it’s been a while. In any case, we encourage you to contact us to ask us your questions. We look forward to working with you in the new year!