4 Reasons to Review Your Estate Plans
An ancient philosopher once said “there is nothing so constant as change.” With each new event in our lives, we assess our current path and make corrections as needed. The same is with our life care planning – certain events create opportunities to review and modify your estate plans.
Your Family Changed.
Some changes in your family will be happy, like the birth of a child, a wedding, a graduation, or a promotion to a new job. Others may be sad or stressful, like divorce or death. One thing those events have in common is that they should prompt a review of your estate plans.
For example, if you or one of your heirs or trustees gets divorced, you may want to change beneficiaries or remove heirs from your Will. When a new child or grandchild is born, you may want to add new language to cover their needs.
Your Will is not the only document that may need to be modified. Agents and healthcare decision-makers named in your Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, or Mental Health Care Power of Attorney may need to be replaced. For example, not many people would really want an ex-spouse making legal or medical decisions for them even if they were a perfectly rational choice while married to your adult child.
Also, make sure you make any necessary changes to the beneficiaries listed on your financial accounts, insurance policies, and transfer-on-death deeds.
Your Net Worth Changed.
Whether because of successful investments, increased living expenses, or the economy, your net worth is likely to experience some ups and downs. A substantial increase or decrease of your estate’s value may trigger a review of your estate plans.
It’s possible you may need to modify your specific gifts if an asset has increased or decreased significantly in value. Otherwise, one beneficiary may receive far more or less than you intended.
If your net worth is over the federal exemption limit (currently $5.49 million), then you may want to learn how to avoid the 40% tax. A qualified estate planning attorney can review your estate and find additional ways for you to avoid those taxes.
Laws Have Changed.
Occasionally, our legislators will change laws that affect estate planning documents, taxes, or issues that concern business owners. Most people don’t constantly monitor these laws. But we do! An Arizona estate planning attorney will know when laws are changing and can review how they will affect you.
Estate Planning Documents Have Not Changed.
Maybe you’ve already taken the big step of planning your estate – 15 years ago. You aren’t sure when, though, and haven’t even looked at your Will in ages. Thinking about death and incapacity is not easy, so we tend to avoid it. But that won’t help your heirs if they find your Will and realize it still mentions property you sold years ago and heirs that predeceased you.
Sometimes it’s recommended that your estate plans should not be older than your car. At Keystone Law, we never want your plan to get out of date and avoiding probate, during life and after death, is our primary goal. We offer a guarantee that your estate will never go through probate, or we pay the probate fees (subject to the terms of our engagement agreement, of course). Most probate problems we see after a death are the result of outdated, old documents.
Is Your Life Different Than It Used to Be?
Find out more about your estate planning options by watching some of the free videos on our website, keystonelawfirm.com. For more information or to set up an appointment with a qualified Arizona estate planning attorney, give us a call at (480) 418-8448. Located in Chandler, we assist clients throughout Arizona including Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, and Tempe.