REVIEWING AN ESTATE PLAN
Many California residents realize the importance of having an estate plan. What they may not understand, however, is that estate planning isn't a one-time event. Unfortunately, even a carefully crafted estate plan can eventually become useless if the planner does not make necessary revisions after circumstances change.
In many cases, people tailor their estate plans to their current situations. For example, someone in their mid-40s may make a plan based on their current state of health, marital status, children's ages and assets. However, circumstances do change, often rapidly. Failing to update critical estate documents can result in serious problems once the estate planner dies or becomes incapacitated.
In some cases, the issue of failing to update an estate plan can be as simple as not updating addresses after moving or failing to include a new grandchild in a will. Things can become even more complicated when divorce is involved. If an estate holder remarries and does not update their will, insurance policies or employee benefit forms, the new spouse may be left with nothing.
Other factors to consider are changes in tax laws. In some cases, a change may render specific estate planning strategies less effective. This is why it's important to work with qualified professionals to review estate strategies and ensure that current plans make sense.
Individuals and couples who are concerned that their estate plans may be out of date could benefit from speaking with an experienced estate attorney. A lawyer can review the client's case and make recommendations regarding wills, end-of-life medical documents, trusts and the management of retirement accounts.