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Why you might need to take a second look at your estate plan

Did it take you some time before setting up an estate plan? If you breathed a sigh of relief after completing all the documents, you may not want to hear that you need to give it a review. But life happens and occasional changes must be made.

The first rule is to schedule a review every three to five years. This doesn't need to be a lengthy meeting, but provides an opportunity to reassess beneficiary designations, possible changes in the tax code or gifting strategies. For example, maybe it's time to convert funds that you may not need from a traditional IRA to a Roth.

Here are some other times when you should call and schedule an appointment with an estate planning attorney.

More to include

From additional investment accounts to a second marriage that blends families, you may have more assets or loved ones to include in your estate plan. Take a look at your estate plan again following any of these changes:

  • A new marriage especially when children are involved
  • The purchase of a new house or vacation property
  • Receipt of a sizeable inheritance
  • The birth of a child or grandchild

Even reaching a new level of success with your family business can affect your estate plan. If you have a living trust, you may need to take certain measures to ensure that a new asset is properly included. Complex issues can mean it is easy to make a mistake.

Downgrades and adjustments

A loved one may pass away unexpectedly. A child may need their inheritance to navigate a tough financial time. Or you may prefer to make a gift while you are still alive. Any of these situations may require updates to your will.

Changes may be needed as minor children come of age. Guardian designations for your children might need to be updated if a family friend relocates or can no longer care for your children. Double check that the individual(s) you designated as durable power of attorney for your financial and/or medical needs is capable and still willing to assist.

Keeping your estate documents updated to reflect your wishes, as well as your loved ones' capabilities, can make lessen the burden and protect those you hold most dear. A qualified estate planning attorney can guide you through the review process to ensure a plan still meets the needs of you and your family.

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