Having a proper estate plan in place is essential, regardless of your age, occupation or personal assets. Once an estate plan is created, however, it should not be forgotten, as changing circumstances may result in an outdated plan that could cause problems in the future. Instead, these documents should be occasionally reviewed by your estate planning attorney to ensure all paperwork is up-to-date. The following are five common reasons your estate plan may be outdated:
A Change in Assets or Liabilities
Your estate plan should be reviewed if liabilities or assets have changed considerably since the creation of the original plan. Whether the value of your estate has increased or decreased, it is important to review the initial documents to see if they are still appropriate. Ultimately, any change in life circumstances calls for re-evaluation of your plan.
Because estate planning laws and regulations are not nationwide, but rather vary from state to state, it is important to have an estate planning attorney review your documents if you have relocated. This is because there may be a variance of laws regarding powers of attorney, living wills, advanced medical directives, and distribution of property. All or part of your plan may become null and void if you do not update it in accordance with your new state’s laws.
Change in Marital Status
Contrary to what many people may think, a divorce or marriage does not affect your estate planning documents at all. Additionally, these life events do not change your beneficiary designations. Therefore, if you are planning to get married or if the dissolution of your marriage is on the horizon, your estate plan should be updated to reflect these changes as soon as possible.
Management of Digital Assets
This digitalization of life in America presents a challenge to those using traditional estate planning techniques. This is because digital assets can create several unique scenarios that you may not know exactly how to handle. For example, keeping track of digital assets can be a daunting endeavor, as new accounts are continuously being set up and passwords changed on a regular basis.
Additionally, digital asset planning also requires deciding which accounts you want deleted, continued or memorialized, and what data you want removed or preserved. In certain cases, you may need to set up new accounts or move assets from one account to another. Your estate attorney can discuss digital asset planning and management with you and offer insight on how to designate someone to manage your digital accounts in the event you die or become incapacitated.
Trustees and Executors Who Are No Longer the Best Choice
Executors and trustees are the people you selected to implement your estate plan and carry out your wishes. When making these appointments, you should give considerable thought to the seriousness of the tasks they may have to perform in the event you become incapacitated or deceased. However, it is also wise to review your decisions regularly to make sure the individuals you selected are still the most appropriate choices. After a significant amount of time has passed, the person or persons you have chosen may no longer be appropriate for the role due to changes in circumstances.
Ultimately regular re-evaluation of your estate plan is necessary in order to ensure it remains up-to-date. Estate planning attorneys in Orange County can help you with this task to avoid negative issues in the future.