There are many reasons why you should revise your estate plan periodically. Most recently, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the act), which was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017, made substantial changes to the Internal Revenue Code. The name may sound simple, however the changes are the most comprehensive in years. There are many complex changes that are going into effect quickly, they mostly affect high net worth individuals.
Even if this law doesn’t affect you, it’s a good idea to take this as an opportunity to review and revise your estate plan every three to five years.
Your estate plan can include a last will and testament, a revocable living trust, a durable power of attorney for your finances, a healthcare power of attorney, and a living will. Some estates include additional documents such as life insurance, retirement plans, and business plans. It’s a good idea to review them to see if your intentions or circumstances are changed.
Here are some ways your circumstances might have changed:
- There are new tax laws
- You have a new marriage
- You have a new domestic partnership
- You have a blended family
- You open a new business
- You got a divorce
- One or more of your beneficiaries predeceased you.
- You moved to a new state
- You received an inheritance or additional assets
- You aren’t happy with the guardian of your children you chose
- There’s a new baby or adopted child
- You want to disinherit a spouse or child
- You want to add or change a beneficiary, including a charity
The addition of new assets would be a great reason to discuss with your estate planning attorney how to revise your estate plan. The asset may be better off in a trust in order to avoid probate. If you opened a business, you may want to discuss a business succession plan if you want the business to remain operating and you desire to choose who will run it. When you move to a new state, the estate laws are different so you’ll need to revise your estate plans when you move. Make sure your estate plan mentions all of your children, both biological and adopted, if you have a blended family, or any newborn additions to the family.
Even if your estate plan won’t be affected by the new tax law, or you don’t have any of the above changes, it’s a good idea to check in with your estate planner to review it every three to five years to be certain your wishes are supported in your estate planning documents. Failing to make these updates could result in lost assets going to your loved ones or result in more time, trouble and expense in obtaining them. Tax laws are always changing, and you want to keep up to date on them.
It’s better to be safe than sorry in terms of estate planning, so a careful review of your plans and documents by an adviser who specializes in this is your best bet.
Here at Tramontozzi Law, we are dedicated to our clients and advise them to review their estate plans with us periodically. Learn more about our estate planning services here, and call us at 781-665-0099 for your free consultation today.