Do Your Old Estate Planning Documents Need a Review?

While a good estate plan will stand the test of time, there are triggering events that may warrant a review.  This post highlights some, but not all of those triggers.  

1.  Laws have changed.  With the ever-changing federal estate tax exclusion amount, it is possible your old estate plan was designed to mitigate federal estate taxes that are no longer relevant.  For example, in 1997 the exclusion amount was a meager $600,000 and amounts over that were taxed at 55%.  With the estate tax exclusion now over $10M per person, your tax-strategy might be very different.

2.  Your wealth has grown significantly.  If you had significantly less assets when you created your estate plan, you may want to make changes to your plan.  For example, did you chose your brother as your trustee?  That might have made sense when you had considerably less assets, but now it may make more sense to hire a corporate trustee to manage your estate.

3.  Your children are no longer children.  Did you create an estate plan with directions for a testamentary trust to pass assets to your minor children?  If yes, you likely want to revise your will and possibly create a revocable living trust.

4.  You got a divorce.   Obviously if your spouse is now an ex-spouse, you don't want him or her inheriting your assets.  Your estate plan will definitely need to be revised.

5.  You have grandchildren and you want to pay for their college, fund their business, or help them buy a house.  An estate plan can provide for these things and much more.  You can put assets in a trust and designate that your trustee manage the money and pay for your grandchildren's expenses as you direct.

The above list includes just some of the common triggers we see for estate plan revisions.  If you have an old plan and would like a review, give us a call.