Annual Maintenance Of Your Estate Plans

Because life changes, most attorneys recommend annual maintenance meetings to discuss your estate planning documents. This is just as important as the actual creation of the documents. Remember, it’s important to have a basic estate plan in place regardless of your net worth. It may seem like a morbid chore, but getting your financial affairs in order means:

  • You name the people to whom you wish to give your assets—this is legally binding.
  • You arrange it so that taxes siphon as little as possible from your estate.
  • You will spare your loved ones a costly administrative nightmare.

We like to revisit your estate plan to make sure we incorporate any necessary changes. Annual meetings give us the opportunity to:

1. Review your estate plan and make sure it still accomplishes your goals.

This includes anything from changes in distribution of assets to children or grandchildren, to changing trustees and more. Are your trustees still ready, willing and able to assist in the event that you need them? Other examples would be revisiting your assignments of guardianship for young children and other changes that may be necessary due to marriage or divorce.

2. Review changes in state and federal law.

The last big changes to estate planning laws were in 2013. This year, we are primarily concerned with changes in the healthcare laws and tax-related laws. If you are retired, it is always a good idea to revisit your health insurance and long term health plans.

3. Review any changes you may have made to your assets.

We need to consider any assets you have been gifted, inherited or purchased. This property, and your future plans for it, should be included in your documents. The sale of any property will have already been dealt with in the sale documents, but the new property needs to be included in your trust.

4. Discuss any further planning or goals.

After your estate planning documents are in place, other questions may come up. This is the time to make adjustments if you would like to make changes in distribution schedules, asset allocation and additions or subtractions of children or grandchildren.

In general, our annual meeting will help to ensure that your estate planning documents are adjusted with your personal changes as well as changes in the law, thus maintaining the plan as current as possible. Yearly changes in procedures with banking institutions, title companies, and state and federal agencies make it more and more important for these documents to be as current as possible.

Please call and set an appointment with our team to revisit your estate plan and answer any questions you may have.