Creating an estate plan is a significant accomplishment. Drafting a will, designating a power of attorney and naming beneficiaries are all important tasks to complete. However, this sense of accomplishment should not deter you from revising your estate planning documents from time to time.
Your estate plan is not something you should finish and put away. These documents should change just as the circumstances in your life do. Here are a few of the core times you should re-examine your estate plan:
1. As time passes
A significant event does not need to occur for you to revisit your documents; you should reassess your planning with consistency. Some people decide to do this quarterly, semi-annually or annually. No matter what interval you choose, make sure you stick to it. You never know when your viewpoints and desires regarding your assets will change. Simply reviewing your documents may cause you to realize you want to make an update.
2. Your family changes
Of course, your estate plan is likely focused on your family. If your family experiences any significant adjustments, you should rethink your financial and medical plans. Whether there is a divorce, marriage, birth, adoption, illness, disability or death, you should always reconsider what your plan says when your heirs, executor or power of attorney experience a change.
3. The law changes
One thing you should pay attention to is when new tax laws go into effect. With new tax laws in 2018, it is crucial to consider how they may impact your plan. What you may have done years ago to avoid estate taxes may no longer be an effective strategy; you may need to restructure your plan to reduce your tax burden. For example, you may think about establishing a charitable trust to minimize your tax obligations.
Whatever you do, make sure you do not let your estate plan collect dust over a period of years.