Reviewing and Updating Your Estate Plan

It’s been a couple of years since I last wrote about the need to review and update your estate plan. A lot can happen in only a couple of years – marriage, purchase of a new home, the birth of a child. My particular situation involves two out of the three life events listed above. As a former practicing estate planning attorney, you can bet I have updated my estate plan (including updating beneficiaries on Transfer on Death/Payable on Death accounts) to reflect these life events. Here are some other life events that may have happened to you in the last couple of years that may necessitate an update to your estate plan:

  • Change in children’s / beneficiary’s marital status
  • Change in financial status
  • When minor children or grandchildren become adults
  • Birth of a grandchild
  • Changes in your number of dependents, such as the addition of caring for an adult
  • Change in financial goals
  • Disability and illness
  • Change in insurance coverage
  • Purchase or sale of a home or other large asset
  • Purchase or sale of a business
  • Borrowing a large amount of money or taking on liability for any other reason
  • Large increases or decreases in the value of assets, such as investments
  • If you or your spouse receives a large inheritance or gift
  • Moving to a new state
  • Starting a new job or receiving a promotion
  • Needs of beneficiaries have changed
  • Changes in estate tax laws

In today’s ever changing world, reviewing your estate plan frequently is necessary to ensure your legacy is passed on to your beneficiaries as you intend. Our Estate Planning Free Guide highlights an extreme circumstance of what can happen should you not create and update your estate plan. You may have seen the news coverage resulting from American singer, songwriter and musician, Prince’s unexpected death earlier this year. Because he didn’t create or update his estate plan as major life events took place, his estate will be writing a check to the federal government for estate taxes of approximately $100 million.

You may find yourself in a situation where you know you have a will or a trust in place, but can’t remember who you named as Personal Representative / Executor / Trustee and ultimately, how your assets will pass. Sitting down with a professional to discuss your current estate plan and explaining the ultimate disposition of your financial legacy can bring to light deficiencies in your plan due to changed circumstances or updated estate tax laws.

Still not sure if you need an estate plan? Check out this infographic and contact your Advisor or a member of the Wealth Enhancement Group.


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