Because the law and life situations are ever changing, for better or for worse, it is necessary to review and update your existing estate plan documents from time to time. Specifically, the following questions should be addressed at the time of your review:
- What has happened since the time you prepared your existing plan?
- Has there been any new additions to your family by marriage, birth, or adoption? Has there been any deaths? Has anyone recently become disabled?
- Have you sold or acquired any new assets? Has your net worth changed?
- Has your employment changed? Have you started a business?
- Have you purchased any new life insurance policies or set up any new retirement accounts?
- Has anyone recently become separated, divorced, or married?
- If probate avoidance is now a priority, have you considered adding a revocable trust to your existing plan?
- Has your state of residency changed?
Whether creating or updating an estate plan, there is not a “one size fits all” model applied to this intimate and often complicated area of law. An estate plan should be strictly tailored to address the specific needs and unique goals of the family and individual. Accordingly, an effective estate planning approach involves assessing your goals, the law, and practical considerations to determine a plan that fits. Working closely with your team of trusted advisers (e.g., accountant, financial adviser, insurance agent, etc.) ensures that your estate plan effectively meshes with your financial plan.