An estate plan is one of the most important set of legal documents for a family to consider. Many individuals draft these documents and think they are set for life. However, over time, situations change; there are new people in their lives, some friends and relatives slip away, children become adults, their business outgrows their expectations, or simply their preferences change. Below is a list of items that will affect your estate plan. If you answer yes to any of the questions below it is likely your situation has changed too, and your estate plan should be reviewed.
- Have your beneficiaries changed? Since your plan documents were drafted do you have more children or grandchildren or has anyone’s marital status changed?
- Have your assets changed? Have you bought or sold a home or other personal property or has the value of any of your assets changed since your plan documents were signed?
- Has there been any change in your business? Has your business changed in size or value? Do you have new partners? Has your business incurred new debt?
- Are there any assets that you have not transferred into your Trust?
- If you have a Living Trust, are the Medicaid triggers in place to ensure that Medicaid planning will start at the appropriate time?
- Has your health changed? If there has been a significant change in your health you may need to make changes to ensure that medical and health care expenses are covered.
- Has the person you named in your plan as your Power of Attorney, Executor or Trustee had their health decline, moved or has your relationship with them changed since drafting your plan? Are they still the right person for the job or do you want to appoint someone else? Does this person have their own estate plan?
- Are there any charitable gifts that you have not clearly outlined in your plan?
- Has your Estate suffered a disaster? A flood, fire, tornado or hurricane could destroy or decrease the value of your assets or account values have changed, which can cause an imbalance in benefits among beneficiaries?
- Since you signed your plan documents, have you changed your mind about any aspect of your plan?
Again, an estate plan is not something you complete once and forget about until your death. Different stages in life and situations require updates to your documents. An estate plan is something that grows with you and your beneficiaries and should be evaluated periodically to ensure your final decisions provide for your beneficiaries as you did in life. If you are unsure whether or not your plan needs updating please contact Ratliff Law Firm at 865-932-3441 to discuss your circumstances.
This is not intended to be legal advice and does not form an attorney-client relationship with any reader.