Updated: Mar 21
As the world, the law and life continue to evolve, everyone needs to keep their estate plan up to date.
An estate plan dictates how assets, financial decisions, and medical wishes will be handled, both upon death and during incapacity.
Ensure Your Wishes Are Respected
The primary reason to update an estate plan is to make sure your wishes are respected upon death.
For example, suppose you recently acquired valuable property or changed your family structure (such as marriage or children). In that case, it’s important to update the documents that outline how you want your assets to be distributed. Without an update, something different might happen to those assets upon your death than what you would want. And it could lead to disputes between family members and legal complications when probate occurs.
Also, if laws change at the state or federal level, your existing estate plan may need to adjust in order to remain valid and effective.
Ensure Your Loved Ones Are Protected from Tax Implications
Another reason for updating an estate plan is for future tax planning purposes. For some people, taxes can significantly reduce the amount that beneficiaries receive after one's death. And there can be other times when waiting to transfer an asset until after you pass away can be a significant tax advantage for your heirs. As you know, tax laws change often. Consistently meeting with a trusted advisor will help you consider all the tax pros and cons in making your choices.
Ensure Your Decisions Are always handled by the right people
One of the easiest ways for a plan to become out-of-date is if the people you have chosen to handle important decisions for you are no longer the right people. Some examples of why they might not be right could be because they passed away, moved out of state, are in poor health, have life circumstances would make it difficult for them to fulfill the role, or that you're just no longer close to them the way you were. You might think of other reasons. But since the decisions they may be called upon to make have such a huge impact on you and your family, you always want to have the right people in place.
Ensure You Leave a Legacy for Your Loved Ones
Finally, at least with our firm, updating an estate plan allows you to express gratitude, share wisdom, recall meaningful memories, and share your love for others by including a legacy interview. Specific instructions can also be included in your plan regarding how charitable donations should be handled after death - enabling individuals who wish to donate part of their wealth to leave behind a lasting legacy that furthers causes they believe in long after they pass away.
Keep Your Estate Plan Up to Date
To sum up: Maintaining an up-to-date estate plan helps you ensure that your wishes are respected upon incapacity or death; protects your loved ones from unnecessary taxes; and allows you to create a legacy of love and care that will extend for generations.
As your Personal Family Lawyer, we hold regular reviews of your estate plan at least every three years. Contact us today with your questions about your current plan and if you need an update.
This article is a service of The Law Offices of Chris Pryor. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family’s Future Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family’s Future Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.