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When to Review Your Estate Plan

It is very common for clients to ask us how often they need to review their estate plans or update their documents. Every client’s situation is unique, so it is difficult to establish hard and fast rules as to when reviews or changes are needed. Typically, a review of your estate plan is prompted by a change in circumstances or a change in your intentions.  Below is a list we have compiled to assist you in determining when you should review your estate plan.

CHANGES IN FAMILY STATUS

  • A child or grandchild has been born or adopted
  • Yourself or a beneficiary have become incompetent or handicapped
  • Yourself or a beneficiary have had a deterioration of health
  • A beneficiary has passed away
  • Yourself or a beneficiary have become divorced or separated

INTENTIONS

  • You have changed your mind as to who should receive your assets or when they should receive assets
  • You would like to add or delete charitable beneficiaries or change the amount of any bequest to charitable beneficiaries
  • You have decided to change your trust plan, either to leave assets outright or conversely in trust

FIDUCIARIES

  • You would like to reconsider the designation of guardians, executors, or trustees (e.g., if they moved to a different state, or they were named jointly and are now divorced)
  • You would like to name an individual as an investment advisor

RETIREMENT PLAN ASSETS/IRAs

  • You are nearing 70 ½ years of age and need to make a decision on distributions
  • Your retirement assets have grown significantly or comprise a significant percentage of your estate

VALUATION/PROPERTY

  • The value of your estate has changed significantly or you will be inheriting property soon
  • You have acquired real estate in another state

BUSINESS INTERESTS

  • You have sold or acquired business interests
  • You have entered into a buy/sell agreement, stock purchase agreement, or other contractual arrangement involving your business

LIFE INSURANCE

  • You have purchased additional life insurance or dropped coverage
  • You wish to change the beneficiary designation on an existing policy and want to make sure that change is consistent with your current estate plan

ANNUAL CHECKS, IF

  • You have previously set up an annual gifting schedule
  • You have an irrevocable life insurance trust

If you ever have a concern about whether a change in circumstance merits a review of your estate plan by us, please call, and in many circumstances, we will be able to tell you over the phone if further action is necessary.

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