IS YOUR ESTATE PLAN DUE FOR A CHECK-UP?
"Even if you already have an estate plan, it's imperative that you revisit that plan to ensure that it remains relevant for your current family and financial circumstances."
Periodically reviewing your estate plan is crucial because life is dynamic and constantly changing. Just like regular visits with your physician, an estate plan requires routine check-ups and periodic adjustments to stay up to date with changes in your life, financial situation, and estate and tax laws. Here are a few key reasons why it's important for you to speak with an experienced attorney about performing a review of your estate planning documents.
Changes in Family Situation: Throughout life, various events occur such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children or grandchildren, a serious illness or injury, or the death of a loved one. These events could significantly impact your estate planning needs and beneficiaries. If your documents are not updated to account for such life changes, it could lead to unintended consequences - such as your assets being distributed in a way you didn't intend.
Changes in Financial Situation: Your financial situation may change over time, which may impact the value of your assets, debts, and total net worth. To ensure that your plan evolves and stays aligned with your current financial status, it's essential to review and adjust it regularly.
Changes in Legal Landscape: The estate and tax laws are frequently changing, and these changes could directly impact the overall effectiveness of your plan. By regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan, you can take advantage of new tax-saving strategies and ensure that your plan remains fully compliant with the latest legal requirements.
Changing Relationships with Beneficiaries: Your relationships with your beneficiaries may change over time and, as a result, you might later wish to adjust how your assets are distributed among them. Periodically revisiting and updating your estate planning documents will help ensure that your estate assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries exactly as you intend.
Health Care Preferences: As you age, your medical condition and health care preferences may change. Accordingly, your health care directives, such as your Health Care Proxy and Living Will, may need to be updated to reflect your latest wishes regarding your medical treatment and end-of-life decisions.
Executor & Trustee Considerations: If the person you designated to serve as your agent, executor, or trustee is no longer willing or capable of fulfilling their responsibilities; or, if you simply no longer wish for that person to act on behalf of your estate for any reason whatsoever, you may wish to update your documents to designate a different person to manage your affairs.
Beneficiary Designations on Accounts: Some assets, like retirement accounts and life insurance policies, pass directly to beneficiaries outside of a Will or Trust. Periodically reviewing and updating these designations is crucial to ensuring that these assets will pass to your intended beneficiaries.
Avoiding Family Disputes: Outdated or unclear estate planning documents could lead to conflicts and disputes among family members. To minimize the risk of family discord and legal challenges, it is important that your wishes are clearly outlined in your documents and regularly updated to reflect your latest wishes.
Changes in Personal Goals: As we age, our personal goals and priorities typically change. By regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan, you can ensure that it stays aligned with your current aspirations and objectives.
Peace of Mind: Regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan provides you with peace of mind - knowing that your documents are up to date, your affairs are completely in order, and that your wishes will be carried out exactly as you intend.
It is important to remember that estate planning is not a one-time event. To ensure that your plan stays up to date with the changing laws and evolves with the changes in your life, it's important to have it reviewed regularly. Generally, it's recommended that an estate plan be reviewed, at least, every three to five years - or more frequently if you have experienced any significant changes in your family situation.
To ensure that your plan will hold up to changing times, call the Law Offices of Michael J. Amoroso today at (914) 686-7272. We will be happy to review your plan (and recommend any updates if needed) so that you may rest assured knowing that, even with life's constant changes, it will remain effective to safeguard your legacy and carry out your wishes.