At this time of year, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the growing list of things you want to accomplish. Perhaps you have holiday shopping to do, cleaning and decorating, cooking and baking, or travel plans to make. Adding one more thing to your end-of-the-year tasks might seem like too much to ask. However, when it comes to updating your estate plan, putting it off might be a critical mistake.
With each turn of the calendar page, your life changes. Some of those changes are barely noticeable, but others can have a serious impact on your estate plan. Leaving your loved ones with an outdated plan may result in confusion and hurt feelings, and this is likely not the kind of legacy you hope to leave.
When should I review my estate plan?
If creating your estate plan in the first place was a monumental task for you, perhaps even one you procrastinated about for years, it is understandable to shudder at the thought of having to revisit it. Nevertheless, if you have experienced significant changes in your life, your estate plan could be outdated. Some events that might affect your plan include the following:
- Florida state laws, federal probate laws or tax laws change.
- You decide to add a trust or other component to your plan.
- You want to include gifts or charitable giving, such as a remainder trust.
- You have lost or gained assets, requiring an update of your will or trust.
- A beneficiary, trustee, executor, guardian or other designee has died or is no longer your choice to fulfill the role.
- Your preferences for end-of-life health care, do-not-resuscitate orders or other decisions have changed.
- You decide to add or change your power of attorney designation.
- You have moved or are planning to move where the estate laws are different.
- Your marital status or family dynamic has changed.
Fortunately, reviewing your estate plan is much simpler than creating one from scratch. It is a smart idea to review and revise your estate plan periodically, such as every few years, and you can reach out to your attorney if you have questions. Any major life changes may prompt a more urgent evaluation of your beneficiaries, agents, proxies, trustees and executors. In this way, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you have immortalized your wishes and protected your loved ones as best you can.