Reviewing an estate plan should be done periodically.
Few things in life are truly “fix it and forget it.”
Cars and homes require maintenance.
Gardens require weeding and watering.
Lawns require mowing and fertilizing.
Neglecting these ongoing tasks leads to problems.
According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “Need an Estate Planning Checkup? Now is the Perfect Time,” failing to provide care and maintenance for your estate plan can be costly to you and your loved ones.
An estate plan is used to appoint a guardian (read back-up parent) for orphaned minor children, nominate an executor under a last will, appoint a successor trustee, and even provide who inherits or who is disinherited.
Even before all of that, beginning at adulthood (officially age 18 in most states) an estate plan appoints trusted agents to take care of business in advance of incapacity.
In short, an estate plan is an important part of life and death.
Each year can bring changes to family situations.
Minor children may have grown into adults or not.
Financial circumstances may have changed requiring funds to be relocated.
Reviewing the names of your key guardians, executors, trustees, and agents is also important.
They may have deteriorating health.
They may also have have moved.
The individuals entrusted with these responsibilities should be updated when you revise your estate plan.
Did I mentioned already that property values also change?
If you purchased your home years ago, it is likely worth more than it was when you purchased it.
You may want to get an updated value of the property to ensure you are dividing assets in the percentage shares you intend.
An expert may need to be hired to value artwork, real property, and other high-value assets.
It can be helpful to keep these numbers current as you sell property and make other adjustments.
With changes in tax laws, reviewing your estate plan is essential to minimize the potential impact of estate taxes and gift taxes.
Making adjustments to account for inflation may allow you to gift more to loved ones.
Reviewing your estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney will allow you to make the necessary changed confidently.
And that is great peace of mind.
Reference: Kiplinger (Jan. 30, 2023) “Need an Estate Planning Checkup? Now is the Perfect Time”