Once you have established a thorough estate plan that meets all your needs, you may assume it ends there. You have transferred all your assets to a living trust. The living trust will allow you to manage your finances and estate during your lifetime and distribute them according to the instructions in your trust after death. You may have even established a charitable remainder trust to minimize estate taxes. On top of that, you have even drafted a pour-over will to support your trusts and determine guardianship for your children. However, no matter how comprehensive your estate plan is, you must continuously review and update it.
When should you modify your estate plan?
Taking regular steps to update your estate plan will help you reexamine your assets and goals with respect to your current situation. It would be best to review your estate plan every three to five years, especially when significant life events happen. Here are reasons you may want to modify your plan:
- To evaluate other manners in which you can reduce income and estate taxes
- The beneficiaries of your individual retirement accounts, 401(k)s and other retirement plans are outdated
- There is a significant increase or decrease in your assets and liabilities
- Your assigned trustee or executor is no longer suitable to administer their fiduciary duties
- If your spouse passes away unexpectedly, you must reevaluate your joint tenancy with survivorship
- When there are new circumstances in your children’s lives, such as marriage, divorce or the birth of grandchildren
You should also modify your estate plan if you ever decide to move out of Connecticut. Estate planning laws vary from state to state.
Change is inevitable
Regardless of your chosen estate planning method, there will always be novel ways to transfer and preserve wealth. You can investigate approaches that benefit you, your estate, and your beneficiaries or heirs more than the ones you already have in place.
The one constant thing in life is change. As our life changes, so should our estate plan.