When should you review or update your Estate Plan?

When should you review or update your Estate Plan?


Are you concerned about or uncertain whether your affairs are in order? Whether you have specific questions or more generalized concerns that your plan may not be fully up-to-date, reach out to an estate planning attorney for help. Your attorney should have a review process designed to keep you informed, with confidence and clarity.

It’s time for a review if:

It’s been a few years:

  •   You don’t know for sure what your estate plan consists of and want to gain a better understanding of, or be refreshed on, what your estate plan does for you and your family.
  •   You have an older will or trust and wonder if it is adequate for the job, or could be improved upon.
  •   You have a will and you have heard about revocable or irrevocable trusts and wonder if you should use one or both.
  •   You have a revocable trust and you have heard about irrevocable trusts and wonder if it’s time for you to consider using one.
  •   You are relying on your past attorney to update you if something has changed that you ought to be aware of, and more than three years has passed since you have heard from him or her.

You lack 100% confidence in your plan:

  •   You do not understand your trust(s), or want to confirm your understanding, or gain clarity and confidence.
  •   You have a life insurance trust and wonder if it is still useful.
  •   You wonder what changes in the law may affect you, and how.
  •   You have an estate plan that makes you nervous because it seems complicated.
  •   You have an irrevocable trust and wonder if it’s right for you, and what you can do about it if it isn’t.
  •   You are generally uneasy about the state of your legal affairs.
  •   You (or one of you, if married) has changed your state of residence.
  •   You know laws have changed but don’t know how the changes may affect you.

Family circumstances have changed:

  •   You have new children or grandchildren.
  •   You need to change the guardian for minor children.
  •   One or more of your children are now young adults. You need legal documentation to act for them if they are sick or injured
  •   You need to change the distribution of your estate (perhaps simply because children are grown and can take distributions outright).
  •   You have a family member with a disability or with an issue that could pose a problem.
  •   There’s been a marriage or divorce in your family and you want to make sure assets don’t fall into the “wrong hands”.
  •   Your spouse or a child has died.
  •   Your own parents are elderly and you wonder whether their affairs are in order, and how to approach the subject.
  •   You want your children to understand your estate plan now and to bring them to meet with your lawyer.

The people you would want in charge may have changed:

  •   You want to discuss the trustee and power of attorney choices you’ve made in the past, and whether they should be updated.
  •   You would like to know more about professional trustees or executors to settle the estate, including the cost involved.
  •   You wish to consider a professional trustee for the permanent job of managing assets for your heirs.

Your own health has changed or you are considering what the future holds health-wise:

  •   You have a pressing health concern for you or your spouse that may affect your plans now or in the near future.
  •   You currently have a health care proxy form provided by the hospital, and you wonder how independent it is.
  •   You have heard about a Medical Directive – under which you specify the preferences for your care should you have an advanced illness – and wonder whether that would have value for you.
  •   You are curious about long-term care or Medi-Cal and want to explore options for paying for it and protecting assets from being spent on your care.

What you own has changed. You have acquired or disposed of major assets or a business:

  •   You have started a business or closed one.
  •   You have purchased a vacation home/investment property.
  •   Your wealth has increased to over $11.4 million dollars, subjecting you to the latest federal estate taxes, and you wonder if you have an adequate plan to eliminate the tax (at the rate of 40% on assets over roughly $11.4 M).

“Funding” your trust and using your trust to its maximum purpose:

  •   You want to be sure that your assets are all properly titled to your trust or trusts, or sometimes directly to individuals.
  •   You gave up/left incomplete funding your trust when you met roadblocks like being told “we don’t allow that here,” or “we need more information” at your bank or financial institution.
  •   Your home has never been transferred to your trust and you wonder if it’s now time to do so.

Don’t know what you don’t know? Call Hyatt-McIntire & Associates to discuss these concerns and more.

By: Tamara Squires, Esq. Hyatt McIntire & Associates 950 Tharp Road, Suite 701, Yuba City (530) 674-9761 www.hm1law.com

Hyatt McIntire & Associates