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When To Update Your Estate Plan

Posted 5 years 275 days ago ago by Danielle Streed

When it comes to updating your estate plan, I tell my clients there is really no perfect time frame to update.  In fact, it is usually a change in circumstances within the client’s family that really causes them to address a change or an update. I have had clients set up a trust and not come in and see me for over 15 years. Although that is not always a good idea, the good news is that very little had changed so  they didn’t need to see me.
The fact of the matter is that it is not typical for most of my clients. Many of them set up their estate plan and then experience changes in their families’ lives. For example, you may have set up your estate plan when your children were minors and now they are through college. The age of distribution you set up in your trust may or may not be a good idea now that you can truly see their personality, money management skills or overall choices as an adult.    
You may have set up your estate plan to leave funds to your children at age 25 and 30 and now that they are in their 40's, you are starting rethink those ages. This change of mind could be based on the fact that your daughter has been married and divorced two times or that your son is living in your basement and is not contributing to his cost of living there.                                                                    
As I tell most of my clients, the need for an update to your estate plan is rarely tied to changes in your life (retirement, death of a spouse or a new job), but it is typically tied to changes in the lives of the people you have put in charge of your affairs (medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney or trustee) or it is tied to who you are leaving money to and at what age.                                      
If you have not taken the time to review the terms of your estate plan in a while, pull it out and make sure you like what is says and that you like who you have designated to serve.                                 

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