When might an estate plan become out-of-date?

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Estate Planning on Saturday, October 10, 2015.

Although not having a will, trust or other type of estate plan in place may be the worst fear of heirs, an outdated will or trust is not much better.

Here are a few things to think about. First, the provisions in a will or trust will likely become obsolete if they were put in place when children were minors. As children age into adulthood, provisions may likely need to be updated. For example, a guardian may have been named in a will to care for minor children. Such an individual might also have functioned as an executor of the estate. With adult children, however, it might make more sense to name one of them to pay any debts, taxes, costs or other expenses of the estate.

Personal property designations may also need to be updated. Chances are an individual has acquired additional possessions, perhaps even changed real property. Trusts should be reviewed to ensure that they are still properly funded. Updating is especially important in revocable trusts, where a trustor is free to change the principal and terms of the trust at will, and he or she may have forgotten that the trust is no longer funded.

Retirement account balances are also likely different after a period of intervening years. Perhaps securities with large account balances will require a fiduciary to manage them. The task of updating an estate plan should also include non-probate property, such as life insurance, payable-on-death accounts. Beneficiary designations on such accounts should be reviewed for accuracy. All of those changes may call for different choices, with which an attorney can greatly help.

Source: Florida Today, "Make sure wills, trusts are updated," Stephen Lacey, Sept. 22, 2015


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