Creating a comprehensive estate plan is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and to your loved ones; however, do not make the mistake of simply forgetting about it because an estate plan is something that needs to be reviewed and revised throughout the course of your lifetime for it to work as intended. In fact, having an outdated estate plan in place when you die, or become incapacitated, can be worse than not having a plan at all. The Bellevue estate planning attorneys at Legacy Estate Planning, LLC talk about when you should review your existing estate plan.
An Outdated Estate Plan Is Problematic
Imagine that you had not updated your Last Will and Testament for many years at the time of your death. Since you executed your Will, you got divorced and one of your children developed a bad substance abuse addiction. Because you failed to update your Will, your ex-spouse is named as Executor of your estate (meaning he/she oversees your estate administration) and your valuable estate is being split evenly between your two children, including the child with the addiction problem. That large inheritance left to your child will undoubtedly be squandered in record time. Likewise, if you are suddenly incapacitated and your ex-spouse is still your Agent under a healthcare power of attorney, he/she will be responsible for making medical treatment decisions for you. These are just a few scenarios that illustrate the need to review your existing estate plan.
When Should You Review Your Estate Plan?
Most estate planning attorneys suggest a routine review of your estate plan every three to five years during your 20s, 30s, and 40s. During these decades, both your family and your estate are likely to encounter the most growth. During your 50s, you should review your plan at least once to ensure that you make any necessary changes or adjustments as you near retirement age. Once you enter your retirement years, a routine review of your estate plan should occur every five to eight years just to make sure everything remains current.
When Do I Need to Immediately Review My Estate Plan?
Along with routine reviews of your estate plan, there are several life events that call for an immediate review and revision of your plan, including things such as:
- Marriage and Divorce. Your own marriage or divorce will necessitate changing beneficiary designations within your plan most likely. The marriage of a child is also something that could trigger a review because your son/daughter-in-law could now stand to gain control over the inheritance you plan to leave your child.
- Birth and Death of Beneficiaries or Fiduciaries. The death of anyone who is part of your estate plan, as a beneficiary or fiduciary, is cause to review your plan. The birth of a child or grandchild should also be specifically noted in your plan to ensure your beneficiaries are properly identified.
- Relocation or Retirement to a New State. Because state laws govern many aspects of your estate plan, moving to a new state should call for a consultation with an estate planning attorney in the new state to determine if any changes to your plan are advisable.
- Major Change in Assets. Your estate plan should include provisions that can handle shifting assets; however, a major increase or decrease in the value of your assets, or the acquisition or sale of a major asset (such as your home or business), should give rise to a review of your plan to see how the change impacts your overall plan.
Contact Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE webinar. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding when to review your estate plan contact the experienced Bellevue estate planning attorneys at Legacy Estate Planning, LLC by calling (425) 455-6788 to schedule an appointment.
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