Figuring out what to do with your estate plan can often be difficult. There are many different options to sort through. When people finally have everything in their plans how they want, they sometimes forget about their estate plans and never change them. That can be a big mistake.
Estates plans are like a snapshot of your life at a particular point in time. An old photograph shows how you looked at the time it was taken. An old estate plan shows how your property and life circumstances looked at the time it was made. However, just as the way you look changes so does your property and life circumstances.
As Forbes points out, in an article titled “Why You Should Update Your Estate Plan,” if you do not update your estate plan when your life circumstances change, then you might be risking costly legal battles for your heirs. Significant property acquisitions that are not accounted for in your estate plan can lead to problems. Having additional children or getting divorced can cause problems, if you do not change your estate plan. Tax law changes could make your old estate plan ineffectual.
You should plan to update your estate plan every time your life changes significantly. If you get married, change your plan. If you start a new business, change your plan. Any significant life event that has occurred since you first created your estate plan may trigger a needed change or two in your estate plan. At my firm, we’ll call you every three years for a triennial complimentary review of your estate plan for all the reasons mentioned here and one that is not identified in the Forbes article. Unless you have a reason to look at your estate plan often, and many of us don’t, you forget what it’s all about; sort of like that foreign language you learn in college. Even if your life circumstances have not changed and the laws have not been altered, a review can still open up a world of possibilities to you and it’s the only voice you have once your gone.
You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.
Reference:Forbes (July 3, 2014) “Why You Should Update Your Estate Plan”