If you don’t remember the last time you looked at your estate plan, it is almost certainly time to dust it off and do a thorough review. Your life isn’t static, which is why it doesn’t make sense to think that drafting an estate plan is something you do once and forget about it. The passing of time isn’t the only reason you should sit down with your estate planner to review and update your will and estate plan. There are many other reasons that have nothing to re-evaluate your estate plan.
You’re Worth More (or Less)
If your assets or liabilities have changed dramatically since you put your estate plan together, it’s important to re-evaluate how you plan to distribute your wealth. For instance, you may have inherited money or lost money on an investment. Regardless of whether it’s an increase or decrease in worth, you need to reassess your plan.
At this time, you’ll also want to re-examine the beneficiaries of any retirement plans like an IRA or 401(k) to ensure they’re still appropriate. Reviewing your beneficiaries regularly is important because the last thing you want is someone who, for example, is no longer in your life to have a legal right to some of your estate.
Tax laws (and other laws that impact estates) change, and those changes should always trigger an estate plan review. These changes can be laws around powers of attorney and medical instructions, both of which you will want to understand so that you can adjust your end-of-life plans accordingly.
Revising Your Heirs
There will be instances where people come into your life, maybe a new child or grandchild, and where people will leave your life, such as through death or divorce. Specifically, naming new children, grandchildren, or a new spouse to your estate plan ensures they are legally recognized as your heirs. Failure to do so will result in people being left out of your estate plan or will give an ex-spouse claim to part of your estate.
Have You Moved?
While it would certainly simplify matters, there are no national estate laws. Instead, each state governs their own.
When you move to a different state, you will want to do a thorough review with a professional estate planner so that you’re aware of how the laws differ and whether or not any changes are required as a result. For instance, there are some states that specify a minimum amount that a spouse must inherit as part of an estate plan, and that amount is different from state to state.
Also, there are different regulations around medical instructions and powers of attorney based on your region. Moving is a hassle, but don’t let that prevent you from doing your due diligence on the estate laws in your new state to avoid conflicts or confusion down the road.
A Honolulu Estate Planner is well versed in all regulatory changes that could potentially impact how your estate is settled. In addition, they will walk you through many of the scenarios above to be sure there have been no material changes to your life that would impact your estate plan and will.
Before committing to an estate plan review, or if you don’t have a plan in place, schedule a no-obligation consult today!