If you have ever put together your estate plan, or served as an executor or trustee, you know how much time and energy go into the planning process. You know that it is a labor of love—as you are literally trying to provide for the future of people whom you care about. It is also an intensely detailed process with a lot of moving parts. This is why it is critical that you routinely make sure that your estate plan reflects your current reality.
- Divorce or new marriage. It is critical to modify your estate when you get divorced or remarried. The reason? Your intentions for your former spouse have probably changed, and your estate plan needs to reflect your current intentions. This is especially true if you have a new spouse who you want to provide for.
- Significant life event. If you have had a significant life event occur, such as the death of a spouse, child, or family member, you will want to modify your estate plan to make alternative plans. In addition, if you celebrate the birth or a child or grandchild, you may want to revisit your plan to provide for the child.
- Change in your estate. If you have had significant gains or losses, or if you have acquired or disposed of major assets, your estate plan needs to reflect those changes. For example, if you had intended to leave your technologically inclined nephew some Bitcoin as a fun little gift, but the value has shot up to $15 million in a few years. This is a good time to restructure your plan.
- Change of mind. Sometimes events and relationships cause us to change our plans. For example, you wanted to leave your son a sizeable portion of your estate, but he has proven himself irresponsible and selfish for years. Or you have an eye-opening experience in which you decide to make charitable giving a significant part of your plan.
- Changes in the law. If there is a change in state or federal tax codes, or to the probate code, there could be serious implications merit a modification to your plan. Speak with your attorney about establishing routine appointments to review your plan. New laws could translate into new tax advantages or may moot some of the plans you already had in place.
Life moves quickly and change is constant. It is important to keep up with your estate plan to account for these changes. If you are interested in modifying your estate plan, contact the Law Office of Robert S. Thomas. I have been an estate-planning attorney for over twenty years and have worked on estates of all sizes. Contact The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas at 847-392-5893 to schedule an initial appointment or visit our website today.