Everyone goes through many periods of transition in their lives. In fact, you might feel like an entirely different person compared to who you were three years ago. That feeling could be the result of a death in the family, a marriage, a new child, a new grandchild or any other number of reasons.
It's important, following any time of transition, that we take an inventory of our lives and estate plans to determine whether our wills, trusts and other estate documents reflect what we want for our families after we're gone. There are a few issues to pay attention to in this regard.
Did someone die in your family? You may have the deceased person listed as a key person in your estate planning documents. Maybe this person stood to inherit a substantial amount of your assets, was listed as a beneficiary on your investment account or was supposed to serve as your executor or accept power of attorney. It's important to update your estate plan with a suitable replacement and/or a reorganization of your asset distribution plan following a death in the family.
Did estate planning laws change? The recent change of federal law that brought the estate tax exemptions up to $11 million for individuals and $22 million for married couples will require an update for a lot of wealthy family's estate plans. Make sure your estate plan reflects current laws.
Are you reviewing your estate plan annually? You need to check your estate plan every year to make sure it accurately reflects your wishes and changing legal standards. In some cases, your estate plan will just require a small but very necessary tweak.
An estate plan is not a static document. Your plan will change and grow as you, your family and estate planning laws change and grow. Make sure you update your estate plan on a regular basis.