If you already have a trust, will and/or powers of attorney in place, it would be a mistake to believe you have no reason to give thought to estate planning issues now or in the future. Nevertheless, people make this mistake all too often, and it leaves many of them with a plan that fails to accomplish their most current goals. To get the most out of your estate plan, it is important that the plan itself remains current. Everyone should review their estate plan every few years and contact their counsel regarding any needed updates or questions. There are several reasons why you should review your estate plan periodically:
When to Update Your Estate Plan
The laws change, and sometimes these changes require you to update your documents accordingly. In fact, 2011 brought significant changes to estate and gift tax laws that will heavily impact estate planning, so now would be a good time to review your plan. Moreover, it is likely that estate and gift tax laws will undergo further review and changes by Congress in 2012.
When to Amend Your Estate Plan
- Family circumstances change, which could give cause to make any number of changes to your estate plan. For instance, time may reveal that your current trustees, personal representatives, or agents are no longer living, available, capable, or trustworthy. Or, your children may grow old enough or responsible enough to serve in capacities in which they were unable to when you adopted your original plan.
- You may decide to change beneficiaries or allocations among those who stand to inherit from you.
- You may have acquired more assets that need to be transferred to your trust. Properly funding trusts is a huge issue that is frequently overlooked, as even trusts that were properly funded at the time of creation must be updated when new assets are acquired. If your goal is to avoid probate, then it is critical to transfer any assets outside of the trust into it.
When to Domesticate Your Estate Plan
- Your original documents may be lost or outdated, or created in another state where the laws differ. While many estate planning documents prepared in other states may be recognized in Arizona, it is prudent to have them reviewed by Arizona counsel in order to avoid any difficulty down the road.
Call our Estate team at (480)467-4325 to discuss your case today.