Estate planning isn’t a one-and-done deal. For those of you who have already had an estate planning attorney create a will or trust for you (good job!), it still needs to be reviewed – and possibly updated – periodically to make sure the plan will still do what you want it to do.
Just like a car or a home, wills and trusts need a bit of maintenance, so make sure that you notify your estate planning attorney if any of the following changes take place in your life.
Change In Marital Status
If you have recently gotten married or divorced, it is important for you to immediately notify your estate planning attorney. The law in every state are very clear about the rights that spouses have when it comes to wills and trusts, but if you fail to update your marital status, it can cause a major headache for you and your beneficiaries down the road.
New Children or Grandchildren
If you or one of your beneficiaries gives birth to a child and you want that child to be added to your will or trust, you may have to update your estate plan, depending on what language is currently used. Similarly, if you want to provide for the education expenses of any of new grandchildren, and update will likely be in order.
Death of a Beneficiary
If you encounter the unfortunate situation of a beneficiary passing away before you do, you may also have to update your estate plan. If you do not, the assets will pass to other beneficiaries in accordance with your will, which may or may not line up with your current wishes. A quick review of your current plan with an estate planning attorney will put you at ease.
New Assets Acquired or Sold
If you are the settlor and trustee of your own Revocable Living Trust, only assets that are owned by your trust (or “funded” into it) will bypass probate. If you have recently acquired new assets, or sold them, you should update your trust accordingly.
Change in State
If you already have or plan to move out of state, you may have to update your will or trust. Probate and estate laws vary from state to state, so it is essential to notify your attorney if you’re planning a move or have already moved. For example, the formal requirements of a Will differ from state-to-state, including Indiana and Kentucky. It is vital to make sure your documents are executed in accordance with each state’s laws in order to ensure that the documents will not be deemed invalid.
Assign a New Durable/Medical Power of Attorney
If you have not already done so, you should consider creating a Durable Financial or Durable Medical Power of Attorney, which appoints an agent or surrogate – often a close family member or friend – to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated. If you already have these documents and would like to change the person(s) you’ve named, you should contact your estate planning attorney immediately.
Don’t Neglect Your Estate
If you don’t keep the information in your estate up to date, you run the risk of creating a problem for you and your family. To schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney, give our team at the Law Office of Jonathan A. Hall, PLLC a call today to schedule a free initial consultation at our Lexington, Kentucky office.