Life changes. So does the way that we should handle our estate plans. As a result, it is a good idea to continuously review your estate plan to make sure that it reflects both your current and future goals. 

Many life changes necessitate a revision of your estate plan, which is why it is a good idea to routinely read over the terms of your estate plan. This article was created to help provide a better idea of what situations should necessitate a fine-tuning of your estate plan.

Federal Changes

The exemption amount for federal estate gift and estate tax exemptions has changed significantly over the last few years, due in no small part to 2017’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act. If you wrote your estate plan before this time, it might be a good idea to revise your estate plan to reflect these changes. 

Additionally, as 2020 nears its end, changes in both congressional and presidential leadership could also signify substantial changes in laws that impact estate planning. 

Marital Status Changes

Changing your marital status can greatly disrupt how your assets are transferred after a loved one dies. Marital status can include not just getting married but also divorce, separation, or losing a spouse. Besides reviewing your existing estate plan, any documents with beneficiaries should also be reviewed. Settlements might also stipulate that certain clauses remain in estate planning documents.

Descendents

Whether it is children or grandchildren, these additions to families often necessitate changes to an estate plan. Children often result in a need to update guardianship designations and sometimes also necessitate a change in how assets will be passed on. Some people even decide to establish trusts to handle education expenses for children or grandchildren.

Assets and Ownership

Substantial changes to your net worth can necessitate changes to your estate plan. If your estate has grown to newly applicable federal or state taxes, you should consider this. On the other hand, if your estate’s value now falls below the applicable threshold for estate taxes, you can sometimes consider the payment of fewer taxes. 

Property Ownership

It might be necessary to review the terms of your estate plan if you recently acquired new real estate. Additionally, business ownership as well as succession plans should be taken into consideration while estate planning. Many times, planning must be done before any exit from a company regardless of whether it is planned or unplanned. Your business should clearly articulate your succession plan whether it is to a family or non-family member. 

Additionally, remember that any designations in 401(k)s or IRAs pass on terms outside of those found in estate plans. As a result, it might be critical to review these documents to make sure they still properly reflect your wishes. 

Speak with a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney

If you have questions or concerns about how to make sure that your estate plan achieves your goals, it can help greatly to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.