Estate plans are not meant to be written in stone. Instead, after creating an estate plan, it is a good idea to routinely revisit the terms of your plan to make sure that it still expresses your values for how to handle your estate in case you are incapacitated or pass away. While they might not seem major, even small changes in your personal life or in the area of tax law can have a substantial impact on the terms of your estate plan. This article reviews some of the critical areas that you should remember to review when it comes time to evaluate the terms of your estate plan.
Whether Circumstances That Influence Decisions Have Changed
For many people, it is an understatement that 2020 was a year full of change. While children were born and some people got married, there were also many divorces and serious illnesses. Each of these changes has the potential to substantially disrupt your estate plan. For example, a beneficiary might have unexpectedly passed away which means that you will need to appoint another party to receive this share of your estate. Another example might be a person who decides to leave an amount to a newborn child in the family.
Changes to the Law
Estate plans are influenced by various laws and regulations. Various changes to these laws can leave some estate planning strategies and create opportunities to save or lose money if transfers are made in a certain way. For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 raised the maximum gift a person can make without paying taxes is $15,000. This amount, however, is scheduled to decrease again several years from now. This temporary high threshold has created an ideal environment for certain gifting strategies, which many people are deciding to make part of their estate plan.
Whether You Have Experienced Substantial Financial Changes
Our finances change over time. While some people acquire debt, others pay off loans. While others take higher-paying jobs, others experience demotions or job loss. Additionally, while some people acquire property, others decide to sell their home. The number of assets that a person has as well as what the individual owns can have a substantial influence on what estate planning strategy would work best. As a result, it is important to make sure to examine whether your estate plan accurately captures the extent of your assets.
How Your Assets are Titled
Due to changes in relationships like divorce or death as well as physical relocations, the individuals who are named in bank accounts, life insurance documents, and retirement accounts might no longer be the best choice. As a result, it is critical to review these documents to make sure that any appointed parties are still appropriate.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney
If you need to update your estate plan, one of the best things that you can do is promptly contact an experienced lawyer. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.