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LA Elder Law Blog

Monday, February 27, 2012

How Long Has It Been Since You’ve Updated Your Estate Plan?

Many people think that there’s no need to update your estate plan documents if none of your beneficiaries or fiduciaries have changed, but that’s exactly the kind of thinking that can lead to disaster.  Estate planning documents are based not only on your own wishes, but also on federal and state tax laws.  When an estate planning attorney drafts your documents we take into account a number of different factors, which means that you get the best possible result and an estate plan that should work like a well-oiled machine when the time comes; but it also means that your estate plan needs periodic review, just as your car needs an occasional tune-up.

Over the past few years income tax, estate tax, gift tax and IRA rules and regulations have gone through some sweeping changes. These changing tax laws—and your own changing financial situation—could mean that language originally meant to apportion assets in the most efficient manner could now result in leaving your surviving spouse, children, or loved ones without any assets at all.

The only way to ensure that this is not the case with your estate plan is to have your documents reviewed every few years.  Fortunately, depending on the extent of the update, the cost of a simple review and update is much less than the initial cost of creation.  But the longer you wait between reviews the more likely it is that the changes needed to bring your plan up to date will be extensive—and thus more expensive.

Don’t let too much time pass between reviews of your plan.  The cost of a review is minimal; but the cost to your family if you neglect your plan could be astronomical. Call our office today to schedule your “tune-up” meeting.


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