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Reviewing And Revising Your Estate Plan

Most people, if they ever muster the courage to draft an Estate Plan, will, upon receipt of that bundle of legal documents, immediately deposit them into a safe deposit box, a fire-proof safe, or, more likely, cram them into a desk drawer underneath that pile of cancelled checks, old tax returns and old family photos that they've been meaning to organize one day. In other words, it
is ignored until needed and the relief and satisfaction of having an Estate Planning finally done gives way to thoughts about the next vacation, the grandkids soccer game or what to serve alongside tonight's pot roast.

I understand. Most people would rather spend valuable time with friends and family - planning vacations, building wealth, simply enjoying life. Asking people to re-visit the task of Estate Planning, after they have done it once, is like asking them to volunteer for an unnecessary tooth extraction. Apologies to my dentist friends, but you get the point. Consider this, though: if you don't review your plan on a regular basis, at least yearly, and, particularly after a major life-event your negligence might threaten the best parts of your plan - asset protection and distribution, probate avoidance, even your disability planning. An Estate Plan is a living document that should change with you, with every major life event so that it remains a plan capable of implementing your wishes and desires for yourself and your family.

Some major life events that would warrant an Estate Plan review include:

  • Changes to your Business Succession Plan (and if you don't have one...call me!)
  • The birth or adoption of a new child or grandchild
  • The death or disability of a family member
  • Educational funding needs for children or grandchildren
  • A change in circumstances regarding the pre-selected guardians, trustees or executors
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Illness or disability of your spouse
  • Changes in your life or long-term care insurance coverage
  • Purchasing a home or property
  • Borrowing a large amount of money
  • Large swings in the value of your investments
  • Receiving a large inheritance or gift
  • Changes in federal or state tax law

If you have an Estate Plan and you're concerned it might need to be reviewed and updated, call me today.