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When Life Changes, So Should Your Estate Plan

It’s easy to have a set-it and forget-it attitude about your will and the rest of your estate planning documents. Finally having a plan in place is an achievement, but like a well-landscaped yard that you put a lot of time and money into creating, your plan still needs to be maintained and sometimes reworked.

Major life changes are the most common reasons people need to update their will or other parts of their plan. But the passage of time should also trigger a review of your plan even though it may not ultimately require changes. Most experts advise having an experienced estate planning attorney review your will and trust documents every three to five years.

Sometimes you need to make changes to your will or other estate planning tools for other reasons, including external events, such as tax law changes and your own life changes. Consider the following life events that might require a change to your estate plan:

  • A move out of state — While Florida does not levy an estate tax, others states do, and the laws pertaining to estate planning also vary from state to state. If you buy a second home, you may want to consult a lawyer about which state should be listed as your principal residence for tax and other purposes.
  • Marriage and divorce — A change in marital status, whether yours or your child’s, may require a change in those you list as beneficiaries, not just in your will or trust but also in investment and retirement accounts.
  • Change in your assets — A new purchase such as a home should be included in your plan. Likewise, a major change to your income from a new job or growth (or decline) in your business should also prompt a review as should a windfall, such as a large inheritance.

If there are changes to those you’ve named as beneficiaries, your will or trust should be revised accordingly. These are just some life changes that require looking over your estate plan with a trusted estate planning attorney. When in doubt, review your plan with your lawyer every few years to make sure that it reflects your current situation and goals.

Bankier, Arlen & Snelling Law Group, PLLC offers Palm Beach County clients complete estate planning services. To update or create your estate plan, call us at 561-278-3110 or contact us online. We have helped many clients revise and update their estate plans to reflect their current life circumstances, preserve wealth and minimize taxes.

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