Updating Your Plan


Have you reviewed your Estate Planning documents?

Once you have created and signed your estate planning documents, it’s easy to put those documents away and never think about them again. However, this is exactly what you don’t want to do. Here are some of the reasons you should periodically review your personal situation and estate planning documents with your attorney;

Laws change

If your estate plan was drafted several years ago, new California and federal laws can effect how your assets are passed, protected or taxed upon your death. Periodically reviewing your estate plan will allow the impact of new laws on your estate to be determined.

You change your mind about your beneficiaries and their needs

People come and go in your life and friendships and relationships change. Someone you may have wanted to get a substantial portion of your estate fifteen years ago, may not even be in your life today. Your children may have grown up and have different needs today. Some of your children may be more responsible with their finances while others may need help managing their money. You may have grandchildren you now want to provide for.

You get a divorce

Your documents will need to be changed to reflect your new marital status.

You get re-married

You and your new spouse may both have separate and community property and may choose for each to be distributed differently. You may want to support your new spouse during his/her lifetime, but want to make sure that the remainder is distributed to your children from a previous marriage when your spouse passes away.

You have new stepchildren

With the divorce rate in California topping fifty percent, many new marriages are creating “blended” families. If you want your stepchildren provided for and you do not adopt them, you will have to structure your estate planning documents to do so. They will not automatically inherit from you.

You become rich

If you do very well in a business venture, inherit assets, or win the lottery, you might need to do additional tax and estate planning that you didn’t need before.

You are diagnosed with a serious illness

If you are diagnosed with an illness that may cause you to become incapacitated, a review with your attorney is highly recommended. We will want to make sure your durable powers of attorney are in place and reflect your wishes, that your beneficiaries are correctly designated, and that your order of appointment for trustees and attorneys-in-fact are correct.

Summary

Your estate plan is like your car. With proper attention and maintenance they both work well when called upon and you have “Peace of Mind”. When neglected, neither runs properly and the intended result is always in doubt. We want your voice, reflecting your present intentions, to be legally heard in the event of an incapacity or death. This is important for you and your family. To make sure this happens, an update with our office every four to five years is strongly recommended. Please give us a call!

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