When Should You Create or Review Your Estate Plan?

When Should You Create or Review Your Estate Plan?

Every adult should have an estate plan. An estate plan consists of a Last Will and Testament, Powers of Attorney for financial and medical decision-making and, often, a Trust.

Creating an estate plan can be done at any time, and can be reviewed and amended so long as you are alive and have legal capacity. Although we believe that it is always a good time to create or review your estate plan, there are some key times and life events that can serve as inspiration for many people to create or review their estate plan:

  1. Before the New Year. A new year inevitably means changes in tax laws. For many of our clients, proper tax planning is essential and, therefore, it is important to plan accordingly for any tax changes in the New Year.
  2. When a Loved One Passes Away. Sadly, when a loved one passes away, you may need to consider preparing or revising your estate plan, especially if you have or planned to provide for or appoint your loved one in your estate planning documents.
  3. When You Become Estranged From a Loved One. If you have a falling out with a loved one, i.e. a child, and no longer wish to provide for or appoint such loved one in your estate plan, it is important to be specific with your intentions. Similarly, if you have previously omitted a loved one that you now wish to provide for again, you will need to modify your estate plan to reincorporate such loved one.
  4. Marriage or Divorce and Having Children. Getting married and getting divorced have significant legal implications that will impact your estate plan. Additionally, when you have children, you will most likely need trust planning for their inheritance, as well as appoint guardians for your minor children, in the event of your death.
  5. Moving to Another State. Each state has its own state-specific laws of which you will need to be aware if you become a resident of such state. For example, you may live in a state where probate avoidance is ideal and, therefore, need to incorporate a Revocable Living Trust into your estate plan. Additionally, if you own or acquire real estate in a different state, you may also need a Revocable Living Trust for such out-of-state property.
  6. Having a Special Needs Beneficiary. If a beneficiary of yours has special needs or is receiving means-based government benefits, you may need to include a Special Needs Trust for such beneficiary’s inheritance as part of your estate plan.

If you would like to create or review your estate plan, at any time, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today.

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