If you don’t remember when you last had an estate plan review, then chances are it’s time for a thorough assessment. Over the years, wishes, relationships, and circumstances change. An out-of-date estate plan may not achieve your wishes, or be declared invalid by the court. You do not want to leave a mess for your spouse or your children should something happen to you.
Frequency of an Estate Plan Review
It’s generally recommended that you review your will, living trusts, and other end-of-life documents at least every three to five years. If it has been five or more years since you last revisited your estate plan, then it's likely that your plan is outdated. There can be reasons to do a checkup more often, as highlighted by CNBC’s article entitled: “Be sure to keep your will or estate plan updated. Here are 3 key reasons why.”
Benefits of Professional Estate Plan Review
Having a Laguna Niguel estate planning attorney and financial planner review your estate plan may save you money in the long run, not to mention the stress and worry created by an estate disaster. Have you experienced change in any of the following areas within the last three years?
Key Areas for Estate Plan Review
Relationships: Your estate plan is a reflection of your desires, but other people play crucial roles in its execution. It's vital to review who you've chosen as executor, trustee, health or financial agents, or guardians for minor children. Ensure they are still appropriate and willing to serve. Life events like marriage, divorce, death, birth, or adoption necessitate a review.
Residence and Real Estate: Changes in your primary residence or the acquisition of new property can impact your estate plan. If you've moved states or bought new real estate, it's crucial to ensure your estate plan adheres to local laws and includes all your assets.
Financial Situation: Significant financial shifts, such as income boosts, large inheritances, or new retirement benefits, are indicators that it's time to revisit your estate plan. Assets like retirement accounts (401(k) plans, IRAs) and life insurance policies often bypass the estate plan. It’s pivotal to collaborate with a financial adviser to ensure all assets are accounted for and beneficiary designations remain up-to-date.
California State and Federal Estate Tax Laws: The tax landscape continually evolves. If your estate plan hasn't been updated in the past five years, you might be missing out on tax-saving opportunities. Ensuring your assets are structured optimally for tax implications is essential.
Legal Document Language: Recent laws, like the SECURE Act 2.0, have reshaped estate planning, especially in relation to retirement accounts. If these accounts are linked to trusts, the trust language might need an overhaul to remain compliant with new laws.
The Importance of Estate Plan Check-ups
Because life and the laws are constantly changing, proper estate planning should include consistent check-ups with your attorney and financial planner. Regular estate plan reviews with Laguna Niguel professionals can prevent future stress and potential costs. Reviewing your estate plan with Geiger Law Office is an easy process. The article, “7 Steps to Getting Your Estate Plan Done or Updated” outlines the clear and simple steps our office uses to ensure that your estate plan matches your current relationship and financial statuses and ensures your wishes are honored.
Contact our Laguna Niguel intake department to schedule time to discuss your estate plan review, call our office (949) 769-2440, or chat our team a message via the website.