Review Your Estate Plan Today

Why is it important to review your estate plan periodically?

You’ve taken the critically important step of making an estate plan. Now what? While it may be tempting to shove your will in a desk drawer and forget about it, estate planning lawyers recommend that you routinely review your estate plan to ensure that it is up-to-date with your current lifestyle and conforms to any newly passed laws. Now, with the new tax laws taking effect this year, it is of vital importance that you review your estate plan with a critical eye.

Update Your Estate Plan As Your Life Changes

Life is always changing and evolving, and your estate plan may need to be edited to reflect your current life status. You will want to review and update your estate plan any time you have a major life change. Important life changes include a divorce, the birth of a child or grandchild, the sale or purchase of a significant asset, or a falling out with a family member. Any of these events may lead you to want to change your will or revocable trust.

In addition to updating your will or trust, make sure to simultaneously review your beneficiary designations. Your life insurance policy and retirement accounts will likely require that you list a beneficiary who will receive these assets upon your death. Make sure your named beneficiary is still the person you desire to receive these funds.

The New Tax Bill and Your Estate Plan

You will want to review your estate plan in light of the most recent tax law changes as it could alter your estate planning strategy. Up until now, much of estate planning revolved around avoiding the dreaded estate tax. Now, the federal exemption for the estate tax has been increased to $11 million for individuals and $22 million for married couples. Accordingly, only the wealthiest of Americans need to worry about the estate tax.

Nonetheless, trusts will remain an important part of estate planning due to the ability they give you to control your assets after your death and their continued tax savings for your heirs. In addition to ensuring your assets will be properly distributed upon your death, your estate plan should include measures to protect you while alive. Discuss creating a power of attorney and health care proxy in the event you become incapacitated with your estate planning attorney today.