Although a comprehensive estate plan should not require frequent extensive review, we recommend that a periodic review of your estate plan is made to ensure that your plan is still in compliance with the law, and that your personal or financial situation has not changed. The rule of thumb in the industry is that you review your estate plan every year and that an estate planning attorney reviews your estate plan every 3 years.
There are several events that may trigger the necessity to make changes to your estate plan: Marriage or divorce; Birth or adoption of a child; Death of a child; Change in marital status of a child; Death of a spouse; Change in health or mental capacity of you, your spouse or a beneficiary; Increase or decrease in personal wealth; Change in employment or state of residence; or Receipt of substantial inheritance or gift.
Is there a need to change your fiduciaries? The death of an individual nominated in your estate plan to serve as a personal representative, guardian or trustee may trigger a need to change your documents. Has your relationship with one of your fiduciaries changed so you are no longer comfortable naming them in your documents?
Handwritten changes on estate planning documents can create problems and raise issues, such as whether the handwritten changes were in the deceased’s handwriting, was the decedent competent, and was the decedent under undue influence? The cost to prove these issues in court will far exceed the cost of a properly drafted codicil to your will or amendment to your trust.
A review of your estate planning documents by an estate planning attorney will provide peace of mind and should result in your assets passing to the beneficiaries you identify, in the manner and at the time you would like the beneficiaries to receive your assets.
JensenBayles, LLP provides a broad spectrum of legal services. Thomas J. Bayles has been actively providing advice in the areas of trusts, wills, probate and tax planning in the St. George market for over 18 years. Please visit our web site www.JensenBayles.com or call 435-674-9718 and ask for Thomas J. Bayles. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.