After signing of an estate plan, including a Will, Trust, Powers of Attorney, and Patient Advocate Designation (Living Will), it is important to remember to review your estate plan regularly.  The estate plan should not collect dust in the closet.  A properly drafted estate plan will be effective from the date of signing through death.  However, to ensure that the estate plan is most effective your estate plan must be regularly reviewed. Generally, I recommend to review your estate plan yearly and also following certain life events. Here are some life events in which you should review your estate plan:

  • Marital Status- Getting married or divorced
  • Divorce of a child, grandchild or other beneficiary
  • New Family- Having or adopting children, grandchildren, or great children
  • The addition of a new son-in-law or daughter-in-law into the family
  • Death of a spouse, child, grandchild or other beneficiary
  • Incapacity of a spouse, child, grandchild or other beneficiary
  • Change in Financial Position -Inheriting assets from family or friends
  • Selling a business or buying a business
  • Change in financial status
  • Winning the lottery
  • Buying real estate outside of your home state
  • Acquiring new assets (it is important to title the new asset correctly to make the estate plan most effective)
  • Your income level or requirements have changed
  • Retiring
  • Moving to a new state or country

review your estate planAside from life changes, laws are constantly changing. There will be changes in tax and estate planning laws at both the state and federal levels.  These changes will often occur outside of most peoples knowledge and may have significant impact on an estate plan. For instance, in 2001, federal rules were put in place that require every Patient Advocate Designation (Living Will) to contain specific language to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (or “HIPAA”). If your estate plan has not been updated since 2001, then your Patient Advocate Designation will lack this required language.  This is just one example of the need to review your estate plan.

The Probate Pro will be happy to review your estate plan at no charge.  Yes, at no charge.