How Often Should I Review My Estate Plan?

How Often Should I Review My Estate Plan?

Many people create a comprehensive estate plan that includes a will,  trust, and a power of attorney (POA) and then lock it away for safekeeping. Life, however, has a way of changing, and with it, the need to keep these important documents updated with the help of an estate planning attorney in Orange County.

When major life events occur, it's time to review your estate plan with an Orange County estate planning attorney.

Life Changes that Warrant a Review of Your Estate Plan

In addition to a recommended review every three years, changing family circumstances that warrant a revisit and possible update of your estate plan include the following:

  • Marriage - In some states, a surviving spouse inherits all of the assets, while others provide for both the surviving children and spouse.

Second marriages can be particularly challenging when determining how assets are divided. If you have children from a previous marriage, there is no guarantee your present spouse will provide for them after you are gone.

You can, however, make provisions for them in your estate plan

  • Divorce - It is likely that your spouse is named in your estate plan as a beneficiary or executor, or obtains POA should you become incapacitated.

There are multiple documents to consider including life insurance policies, retirement accounts, wills, and trusts. For obvious reasons, it's vital that you update your estate plan with an estate planning lawyer in Orange County CA as soon as possible.

MarketWatch reported on several horror stories involving unchanged beneficiaries. One involved a man that had failed to change his beneficiary after a recent divorce — instead of the benefits from his pension and life insurance going to his kids from an earlier marriage, they went to his ex-wife.

  • New Children - Whether through marriage or birth, the arrival of new children in your family warrants a review of your plan.

In addition to updating beneficiaries, it's important to include guardianship designations. As part of your will, this important document specifies who will raise your children should something happen to you.

  • Change in Assets - Whether an increase or decrease in assets, provisions found within your estate plan may require an update. If you have a trust, review your plan to make sure all of your assets have been transferred.

A change in assets can also affect estate taxes which may leave your beneficiaries with more tax burdens than you anticipated.

Estate tax laws are particularly volatile. As a reliable Orange County estate planning attorney, our team notifies our clients when changes in state or federal law affect their estate plans. 

Find the Right Estate Planning Lawyer in Orange County

Estate plans are commonly amended several times over the course of their existence. If you or your loved ones have experienced one of these life-altering events, or it's been several years since you've reviewed your estate plan, consider speaking with an estate planning attorney in Orange County today. 

There are few things worse than a family facing the death of a loved one as well as a failed estate plan. Our experienced Orange County estate planning lawyer can help you review your estate plan and ensure it reflects your current wishes.

For a complimentary consultation, contact us at Parker Law Offices today.

Maria Parker assists her clients plan for their end of life health care wishes and the ultimate distribution of their wealth after death. She personally experienced the importance of planning at the time her father passed away.

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