Is your estate plan up to date? A 2023 checkup

Sep 16, 2023 | Business

An estate plan is a dynamic tool that must evolve with your life’s changes to effectively protect your loved ones. While creating a solid estate plan is crucial, its value can be compromised if it’s not regularly updated.

Estate planning isn’t a one-time event; it should adapt alongside shifting life circumstances, assets and legal regulations. Regardless of your situation, life inevitably introduces modifications and certain pivotal life events demand immediate updates to your plan to ensure it remains effective, preventing your loved ones from encountering court battles and conflicts. Here are significant occurrences that necessitate prompt amendments to your plan:

Marriage: Marriage doesn’t just alter relationship status; it transforms your legal standing. Whether it’s your first or fourth marriage, your estate plan must reflect your new wishes and needs. After marriage, priorities include naming your spouse as a beneficiary for insurance and retirement accounts, granting medical and financial power of attorney and updating your will and trust.

Divorce: During a divorce, the stress of change often overshadows estate planning. However, failing to update your plan can result in serious consequences. It’s crucial to eliminate your ex-spouse’s eligibility for assets and decision-making authority. After finalizing the divorce and property division, adjust your plan to suit the new asset profile and living situation.

Birth or Adoption: Welcoming a new family member is a joyous occasion, but it necessitates increased planning and responsibility. Your top priority should be designating guardians for both short- and long-term care. Establishing estate planning tools like revocable living trusts ensures the seamless transfer of assets to your child in the most beneficial manner. Consult a Personal Family Lawyer® to tailor the strategy to your family’s unique needs.

Death of a Loved One: The passing of a family member, partner or friend can disrupt both your life and estate plan. Address any gaps left by the deceased individual’s absence by updating beneficiaries, executors and guardians. Make these adjustments promptly to ensure a comprehensive plan.

Serious Illness or Injury: Illness or injury is an inevitable part of life. When faced with a serious diagnosis or life-altering accident, review your healthcare decision-makers and their roles. Your preferences may evolve over time, so ensure your plan aligns with your current wishes.

Relocation to a New State: Estate planning laws differ from state to state, necessitating a review and potential revision of your plan upon moving. Some state laws are complex, making a consultation with an attorney vital to ensuring your plan remains effective.

Significant Changes in Assets or Liabilities: Dramatic shifts in your estate’s value, whether a substantial increase or decrease, warrant a reassessment of your plan. Adjustments will ensure optimal protection and benefits for your family.

Buying or Selling a Business: Engage in estate planning strategies when selling a business to minimize capital gains taxes. If acquiring a business, update your plan to incorporate succession plans. Consider creating a buy-sell agreement and comprehensive business succession plan for each business you own.

Regularly updating your estate plan is essential. Even well-crafted plans can prove ineffective if they fail to adapt to life’s changes. Be proactive—reach out to an estate planning attorney to ensure your plan remains relevant, shielding your loved ones from potential hardships.

This article is provided by your local estate planning attorney, Corina Colan.

The Law Office of Corina I. Colan| (909) 265-3315 |  [email protected] | www.colanlegal.comTop of Form



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