The longest serving monarch has died at 96. Whenever someone passes, and maybe more so when someone who has lived so long has passed, it allows us to take a pause and reflect on our own lives. What kind of legacy do we want to leave, what kind of life have we lived and how will our families handle the transition when we are no longer present. As the royal family begins to transition, certainly her estate and who receives what will likely begin to dominate the coverage in the coming months. Certainly, her legacy will be viewed through a new perspective. So, with that in mind, when was the last time you pulled out your estate planning documents to review them, or update them? Most people visit their CPA or Financial planner annually, if not more often. However, people often have a “set it and forget it” mentality regarding estate planning. Below I have listed a few reasons to review and update your estate plan that you may have never considered. And, if you haven’t done your estate plan yet, maybe it is time.
IT HAS BEEN 3 – 5 YEARS: If you have not looked at your plan in years, then pull it out for a review. It is always a good idea to peek at your documents, just to remind yourself whom you chose to be your agent, trustee and executor. I can barely remember what I did yesterday let alone recall whom I chose to make financial decisions for me. Reviewing your documents with your attorney will help to solidify the choices you made and the role each person will play in your estate plan. In addition, divorce, law change, financial and life circumstances change…if you never updated your plan or reviewed, it then you may have a plan that does not function.
YOU ARE HAVING HEALTH ISSUES: If you expect to have significant medical issues, it will be important to insert special provisions into your trust, such as special care requirements or a desire to remain in your home. If capacity will become an issue, any changes to your trust must be done prior to incapacity to be effective. Updating your Advance Health Care Directive will help your agents know what you want to happen and how you want your medical care to proceed.
YOU OR YOUR SPOUSE STARTED A BUSINESS: If you started a business, depending on the type of business, you will need special provisions in your trust regarding distribution and the addition of trustee powers to assist with the transition. Ownership interest may need to be funded to your trust. Anytime you start a business or convert the form of your business you will need to likely update your trust, and at the very least review your estate planning documents.
Reviewing and updating your estate plan will send you back to your attorney, which will cost a fee; however, the expense of investing in your estate plan is far lower than an out-of-date or dysfunctional plan. A good estate planning attorney will continue to work with families as their children grow and their lives change. They will work with families to assist in planning, asset protection, incapacity, death, divorce and a myriad of other family issues. When you work with Mauriah Conway with Meissner Joseph Palley & Ruggles, Inc. you become part of our family as we assist you and your family throughout your life. As you reflect on your own life and the legacy you want to leave, take the time to review and update your estate planning documents to ensure your wishes and legacy are properly reflected and preserved.
-Mauriah Conway, Attorney