The American Bar Association (ABA) cites studies that show 55 percent of Americans die without an estate plan—personalized documents that make your end-of-life wishes known. Documents such as a will and a trust distribute your assets to desired beneficiaries, assist in keeping your estate out of probate, and help your family avoid delays and unnecessary taxes after you die.
When to Revisit Your Estate Plan
Often, significant life events occur that change the way you want to distribute assets and take care of family members. Some common events include:
- Family changes. Marrying, remarrying, divorcing, losing a spouse, having a child or grandchild, and seeing a child turn 18 are good milestones to visit with your estate planning attorney. These changes might alter the way you want to handle inheritances or your trust.
- Change in estate value. If you’ve come into some significant wealth since the last time you saw your lawyer about your will and trust, it’s prudent to consider revisions. If you’ve sold a business or increased your insurance policies, the wishes in your will might change to account for the increase in wealth.
- Change of location. Estate planning laws can vary from state to state. So, if you move, it’s important to find an experienced lawyer who’s skilled in estate and trust laws to help you update your will and trust plan in the state where you live.
- Change in tax codes. U.S. tax laws fluctuate frequently. It’s important to stay up to date on these changes, so you and your family continue to be protected. Checking on your plan can also keep your estate from becoming tied up or unnecessarily taxed in probate after your death.
- Three-year timeframe. It’s possible you won’t experience significant life events often; however, after three years, you may want to visit your estate planning attorney to review your plan. A trained attorney might also be able to identify areas of your will and trust that need updating.
Skilled Help With Wills and Trusts
If you have questions about updating your will and trust, we can help you. The legal team at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum has answers to your questions, and you can reach us by initiating a live online chat with one of our representatives.