We all know the only constant in life is change. But did you know those changes make your estate plan out-of-date, too? In fact, if you don’t account for changes in the law, family situation or your assets, your estate plan may not work at your death.
As the Nevada Appeal’s article “Is your estate plan obsolete?” reminds us, your estate plan will need to be modified to deal with these changes. Changes in the tax codes, new regulations, and court decisions can also affect your estate plan. Plus, think about all of those who will need to be involved with your estate, such as guardians, trustees, executors, and agents. Their lives and circumstances may have also changed.
One of the most important and most often overlooked changes are changes in assets. If you got a new job this year, your 401(k) and possibly other assets like employer-provided life insurance or stock options have all changed. These new assets will need to be titled appropriately so they align with your estate plan. Old 401(k)s or 403(b)s may need to be rolled over, and the change in the value of these assets, the title (or name on the account) and other changes should start a review with your estate planning attorney. Your attorney may need to update your trust or other documents as a result, but you will definitely need to work together to ensure all your assets are aligned with your plan.
As we head into a new Presidential administration, it seems likely there will be changes in the tax code and other laws. These will definitely have an impact on estate plans. Recently, there have also been numerous court cases addressing Medicaid planning techniques. As these cases proceed, it’s likely that you and your attorney will need to make changes to any Medicaid planning.
A healthcare power of attorney might need to be reviewed for compliance with HIPAA, so your family or agent can talk to and work with your doctors on medical issues. In addition, a change in your life like marriage, divorce, or the death of a spouse are important changes that necessitate alterations to your estate plan. Similarly, the change in the marital status of a child or other beneficiary also means you should review your plan with your estate planning attorney.
Other changes that will impact your estate plan are changes in your own health or that of a family member. Perhaps your interests have changed and a charitable organization you once supported whole-heartedly is no longer central to your values. Or maybe there has been a change in the status of relatives you used to support. In other words, if there have been changes in your life, you’ll want to update your estate plan.
For more information about how Family Estate Planning Law Group works with you on an ongoing basis to ensure your estate plan will work when you need it to, explore our website and contact us to schedule your consultation today!
Reference: Nevada Appeal (October 11, 2016) “Is your estate plan obsolete?”