An estate plan is not just a last will and testament. It is a way to ensure your financial and personal needs are provided for in retirement and beyond. Knowing this can give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your wishes will be respected, even if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
You may be asking, when should I review my estate plan? While there is no “set” time, if your estate plan is more than three years old it may be time to reevaluate. Even in that short space of time, circumstances in your life might change so much that what you had initially intended is no longer a viable approach.
Significant life changes can call for a reevaluation of your estate plan. For example, say you had appointed a good friend as the agent under your Florida durable power of attorney. If something should happen to that person or if he or she became too ill to make decisions on your behalf, you need to replace your friend with someone who is prepared and able to take on the responsibility.
Another possibility is that your personal situation has changed, either through marriage, divorce, or death. If you marry, separate, or get divorced, you should review your beneficiary allocation and decision makers as soon as possible. What you wanted when you first established your plan might not align with your current desires. Conversely, if you have experienced a death in the family and that individual is named in your estate plan, you may want to change his or her name on your planning tools with the help of your estate planning attorney.
Today’s taxation landscape changes often and usually without much fanfare. Knowing where your estate stands concerning taxes can help you plan accordingly and ensure your loved ones are not left with a lot of tax headaches once you are gone. Further, moving into or out of state is another reason to review your estate plan. Every state has its own estate and probate tax structure. If you move, your estate could be subject to those laws, so whether the changes are beneficial to you or otherwise, it is always a good idea to know what to expect.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. If you have not updated or reviewed your estate plan in three years or more, make an appointment with an attorney in our office today. We look forward to speaking with you.