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Absolutely! And Here’s Why You Should Update Your Estate Plan.

It’s not realistic to think that a document you created years ago is still valid, especially in light of your life changes and changes in the law. I’ll use the Brown family as an example of why you should update your estate plan.

Meet Kathy and Loren Brown.

Imagine this, Kathy and Loren got their first estate plan when their daughter, Brittany, was born 30 years ago. Then they updated their estate plan when their son Peter was born 4 years later. After attending one of my estate seminars, they got a fantastic trust-based estate plan. The plan I prepared protected not only Kathy and Loren, but their kids, grandkids, and their cat, Kiwie.  

However, they made the decision not to join my wills and trust maintenance plan and instead, they chose to just call me when they felt they needed to have their plan updated. As you can imagine, life got busy, and they never called to update their documents.

Here’s what’s changed in their lives over the past 10 years.

  • Brittany and Peter are now adults and have graduated from college.
  • Brittany is married with two kids; one that may be autistic.
  • Peter is married, and he and his wife are expecting their first child.
  • Kathy’s mother is now living with she and Loren.
  • Loren and Kathy bought a vacation home in Palm Springs, CA.
  • Kiwie had a litter of kittens but has since passed away.  Loren and Kathy kept two of the kittens.
  • Their tax status

Do you think their estate plan will still work the way they want it to?

Changes in Your Own Life

The Browns have experienced a lot of changes, but those changes are typical of what can happen in 10-years, or even 4-years. Think about the changes in your life over the past 10 years—or since you last updated your estate plan.

Have you moved? Do you have more children or grandchildren? Have you started a business, suffered health problems, or purchased a new home? Do you have new accounts and investments? Do you now care for a parent, pets, or dependent children? Have you remarried, gotten divorced, or retired? Has someone you loved died? Have friends or family named in your plan as trusted helpers moved away, or has your relationship changed? Are your children now adults and able to help you? Do you want to help with grandchildren’s college or dance lessons? Do charities you once supported still exist? Do you see the world in a different way?

Many things have happened in the past 10 years. Your estate plan needs to reflect the changes in your personal life, financial situation, and goals. There have also been significant changes in the law, including tax changes.  I work hard to stay abreast of these changes to protect my clients.

Is Your Estate Plan Out of Date? Is it Stale?

If you’ve experienced changes like the Browns, or it’s been more than 3 to 5 years since you updated your estate plan, it’s time to discuss an update. I’m happy to review your plan and talk with you about what’s been happening in your life. Now is the time to update your stale plan. Schedule a call now.

Francine D. Ward
Attorney-At-Law, Author, Speaker

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