Updated Your Estate Plan?

Many clients wonder how often they should have their estate plan reviewed for possible updates. There is no set period of time that would automatically trigger a review, but it is generally advisable to review an estate plan every few years to make sure that it is up to date. Some of the events that indicate that your estate plan may need to be updated include the following:

  • A substantial change in your wealth, such as an inheritance, or a significant appreciation in certain assets included in your estate.
  • Changes in your family – births, deaths, adoptions, marriages and divorces.
  • Anticipated changes to the needs of your beneficiaries due to illness, changes in wealth, creditor problems, educational needs or disability.
  • A sizeable increase in the value of your retirement benefits.
  • The purchase or sale of a business. (Either event should be reviewed well before the actual transaction to consider all the possibilities.)
  • The purchase of real estate in another state, e.g., a vacation home.
  • The purchase of life insurance. (This should also be reviewed before the actual purchase of any insurance as there are techniques available to provide life insurance benefits without having the insurance included in one’s taxable estate. See the article on Life Insurance Trusts.)
  • The possible inclusion of charitable beneficiaries as part of your estate plan. This may include outright bequests to charity upon death, the creation of charitable private foundations, a  charitable remainder trust, etc.
  • Possible changes to your named fiduciaries, e.g., executors, trustees, attorneys-in-fact, etc.

The above list is not meant to be exhaustive by any means. Other changes that you may not be aware of include changes in the tax law or the law governing the administration of estates and trusts. These latter changes can sometimes have a dramatic impact on your estate plan. While most well-drafted estate plans should adjust automatically for many possible changes, it is still advisable to review your estate plan periodically. Oftentimes, minor changes can be easily made by a short codicil to your will or amendment to your trust.

Changes Today Can Impact Tomorrow

Changes in your life can have far-reaching effects on your estate and, thus, your beneficiaries. Our attorneys can explain these effects and provide valuable insights into how your will and trusts can be amended to account for these and future changes. Located in Norwood, the attorneys of Fedele and Murray, P.C., are ready to help you. Call 781-551-5900 or email us here.