Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Blow the dust off that estate plan and give it a second look

Some people in Richmond may have taken the wise step of creating a comprehensive estate plan. While estate planning is a good thing to do, it is important not to let your estate plan languish and collect dust as the years go by. Instead, from time to time it should be reviewed, to ensure it still meets your needs. The following are some life events that may warrant a review of one's estate plan.

First, keep an eye out for changes in the law. For example, exemption amounts for the estate tax have changed over the years. It is important to review your estate plan when tax laws change, to ensure it still meets your needs. Marital laws have also changed over the years. For example, same-sex marriage was made legal in 2015. For couples affected by that law, it may be worthwhile to review their estate plan to take advantage of any opportunities they did not have in the past.

Also, as time marches on, so does one's family situation. A person might marry, divorce, have children or have a loved one die. Therefore, it is a good idea to review your estate plan when one of these major life events occur. For example, you probably wouldn't want your ex to inherit under your estate plan after a divorce.

Keep in mind, too, that laws vary from state to state when it comes to taxes, probate and trusts. If you move from one state to another, you may want to review your estate plan to ensure it meets the legal requirements of your new state of residence.

If you created your estate plan early in your adulthood, it is possible that as time went on you accumulated significant assets, such as a house, retirement accounts, life insurance policies or stocks. By reviewing your estate plan regularly, you can ensure these assets are accounted for in the manner you would like. Similarly, if you plan to leave something to a favorite charity, it is important to review your estate plan periodically, as charitable institutions can undergo transitions.

As this shows, there are many reasons to review an estate plan every few years or after a major life event. If you determine upon review that your estate plan needs to be modified, it may help to speak to an attorney.

Source: azbigmedia.com, "Here are 8 reasons to revisit your estate plan," Susan Teson, Sep. 1, 2017

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