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When Is An Estate Planning Review Important?

Maybe your estate plan was created when you were single, and there have been some significant changes in your life. Perhaps you got married or divorced.  You may have had or legally adopted children, or you may also now be on better terms with children with whom you were once estranged.  Finally, tax and estate laws can also change over time, requiring further updates to your planning documents. Any of these reasons could be important factors that would require an estate planning review.

WMUR’s article entitled “The 'final' estate-planning step” reminds us that change is a constant thing. With that in mind, here are some key indicators that a review is in order.

  • The value of your estate has changed dramatically
  • You or your spouse changed jobs
  • Changes to your income level or income needs
  • You are retiring and no longer working
  • There is a divorce or marriage in your family
  • There is a new child or grandchild
  • There is a death in the family
  • You (or a close family member) have become ill or incapacitated
  • Your parents have become dependent on you
  • You have formed, purchased, or sold a business;
  • You make significant financial transactions, such as substantial gifts, borrowing or lending money, or purchasing, leasing, or selling assets or investments
  • You have moved
  • You have purchased a vacation home or other property in another state
  • A designated trustee, executor, or guardian dies or changes his or her mind about serving; and
  • You are making changes in your insurance coverage.

As a general rule, even if none of the above events have triggered you to do so, we recommend that every 3-5 years you review your estate plan to ensure it is still accomplishing your goals.  However, certainly your estate planning review should occur more frequently if any of the above has occurred in your life. Failure to review and update your estate plan could mean the people you want to receive your assets may not actually receive them, or may not receive them in the manner you wish. Consult with en estate planning attorney to review your estate plan and ensure it meets your goals.

Reference: WMUR (Feb. 3, 2022) “The 'final' estate-planning step”

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