Tips for revising an estate plan with ease
It is a good idea to revisit one’s estate plan after significant life events, such as marriage, divorce or the addition of children. Administrative questions often arise when creating an estate plan. Our law firm prefers the most efficient and practical approach to updating estate plans, whenever possible.
One practical approach is to include a declaration at the top of one’s will pertaining to the existence of any prior wills and codicils, or amendments. For example, a declaration might state that the document revokes all prior wills and codicils. In the alternative, an amendment might be executed to update one or more provisions in a will.
Ownership of personal property is one of the areas in estate planning that is most subject to change. A provision in a will referencing a non-testamentary letter is an easier way to update distributions of personal property than revising the entire will. The letter, generally addressed to the executor of the estate, describes how certain personal possessions should be delivered to specific beneficiaries. Although the letter does not have the legal effect of a testamentary writing, such as the will, it will provide guidance to the executor.
A living revocable trust also allows for revisions to an estate plan with minimal hassle. Retitling assets to the individual as trustee for the living revocable trust, instead of in his or her personal capacity funds the trust. A living revocable trust does not impact the trustor’s tax obligations during his or her lifetime, nor does it require a tax return filing. The trustor uses his or her social security number to file any personal tax returns. After the trustor’s passing, however, the trust becomes irrevocable and it will require its own unique tax identification number after the trustor’s passing. That TIN can be obtained online from the IRS’s website.
Source: FindLaw, “Living Trust Information,” copyright 2016, Thomson Reuters