How often do I need really need to update my estate planning documents?
To quote the familiar catchphrase of infomercial star Ron Popeil when selling his Ronco Rotisserie oven, is your estate plan a “set it and forget it” chore? Everyone needs one, but how often should you really update your estate plan? Estate planning allows you to appoint persons to assist you as you age with your healthcare and personal finances. It also puts a plan in place so that when your time comes your property will be transferred to those that you love and care about in the most efficient way. Estate planning can be used to maximize your assets and minimize the cost of settling your estate at your death, as well as reducing or eliminating taxes on your estate.
No one likes to think about aging, disability, or death. So, it’s a given that planning for that season of your life is one of those tasks no one actually enjoys. But you did it! You met with your estate planning attorney and went through the process of getting your will, powers of attorney and advance directives put in place. Then you do what everyone does, you tuck it away in a safe place and forget all about it. But seriously, how often should you review your estate plan?
Most legal and financial professionals will tell you as often as is needed, which may not be too helpful. The most-sound advice I can provide is that you should pull out your documents every three to five years, swipe off the dust, and look them over. If you have had any sort of major life change you should consider meeting with your attorney for a full review of your estate plan.
Perhaps you have:
■ Parented another child since you last updated your documents.
■ Become an empty nester and your children are now grown and responsible adults. Okay, but seriously your kids will become responsible adults at some point in the future.
■ Dissolved a marriage, lost a spouse or partner, or married.
■ A child or other loved one may have an addiction or spending problem.
■ Been Recently diagnosed with a healthcare condition or you are considering retirement.
■ Had a major change of income, started a new business, or you have inherited assets that change the taxability of your estate.
■ A family member with a disability that you need to ensure does not receive an accidental inheritance and jeopardize their public benefits.
Additionally, the persons you appointed as agents, executors, and trustees in your estate plan may no longer be those people you wish to assist you in your time of need. All of these situations would merit the need for a review and possible update of your estate planning documents.
If you are in need of an estate plan or you would like our legal professionals to review your current estate plan, we welcome the opportunity to be of service to you. Rapp and Krock’s estate planning department makes the mundane task of estate planning easy and comprehensive. Author, Joy Eckelkamp, Senior Counsel at Rapp and Krock, PC, is a Certified Elder Law Attorney and welcomes new clients. Please give Joy a call if she can be of assistance to you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Joy M. Eckelkamp is Senior Counsel at Rapp & Krock, PC in the Probate, Estates, Elder Law, and Trusts group.
Rapp & Krock, PC presents the information in this article for general education purposes only. Although this article discusses legal issues, it is not legal advice. The law and the content of any linked website may have changed since this article was written, and Rapp & Krock, PC makes no warranty or guarantee about the continuing accuracy of the information presented. Use of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship, and Rapp & Krock, PC does not represent you unless and until we are expressly retained in writing.