For your estate plan to continue to protect you and your loved ones as intended it needs to be updated from time to time. Knowing how often to review your estate plan, and when a life event should trigger an immediate revision, is the key to a successful estate plan. The Ashland estate planning attorneys at the Potter Law Firm remind you to review and revise your estate plan as needed.
A Routine Review Is Essential
You should conduct routine reviews of your estate plan and make any revisions necessary from time to time. Most estate planning attorney suggest routine reviews every three to five years until your children have all reached the age of majority, or around age 50 if you do not have children. After that, plan a review every five to eight years. During a routine review, pay particular attention to common changes that should trigger a revision, including:
- Changes in income. Your income will typically increase as you move through your working years. The change in income may cause changes in your estate plan.
- Changes in assets. Your asset structure is likely to change as your income and family size increase. The more assets you acquire, the more assets need to be protected in your estate plan.
- Changes in beneficiaries. Your primary beneficiaries will likely change as you get married and/or have children.
- Changing fiduciaries. You need to review your choice of fiduciaries each time you review your estate plan. You may want to appoint a new spouse to a position or remove someone who is no longer willing or able to serve.
When Is an Immediate Review Necessary?
While routine reviews are essential to keeping your plan current and functioning as intended, there are also some life events that call for a more immediate revision to your estate plan, including:
- Marriage. When you marry, you typically need to change the beneficiary designations on things such as your Will, retirement plans, and life insurance policies as well as change fiduciary positions within your plan. 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.
- Divorce. Do not make the mistake of forgetting to make changes to your estate plan or you could end up with an ex-spouse as the beneficiary of your estate assets.
- 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 might need to be specifically noted in your plan to ensure your beneficiaries are properly identified.
- Youngest child reaches adulthood. Once all your children are legal adults, you have the option to gift directly to them instead of counting on a trust.
- Relocation 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.
- Significant change in assets. Minor changes should be accounted for in your plan; however, if you buy or sell a business, or valuable asset, you may need to review your estate plan.
- Retirement. When you retire, several important changes will take place, starting with your overall financial picture changing. You may start withdrawing funds from retirement accounts and selling major assets. Those changes warrant a review of your plan. In addition, if you have not yet considered the addition of a Medicaid planning component to your estate plan, now is the time to do so.
Contact Ashland Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you need to conduct a review and revisions of your estate plan, contact the experienced Ashland estate planning attorneys at the Potter Law Firm by calling 606-324-5516 to schedule your appointment. Our Florence, Kentucky, office can be reached at 859-372-6655; and our Charlotte and Huntersville, North Carolina offices can be reached at 704-944-3245.