Estate Planning Lawyer in Chesterfield
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Is It Time to Review Your Estate Plan?

During the estate planning process we always try to emphasize that the process does not end on the day the documents are signed. That is really just the first part of the task. We always like to advise our clients that they should regularly review the content of their plan. As a general rule we recommend that clients review their plan at least annually. More often is fine but once a year is a good rule of thumb to make sure that the estate plan is still going to accomplish what you intended when it was drafted.

We often recommend that this review be tied to another event so that it is not forgotten. For example, some clients do a year end assessment of their financial situation for tax purposes. That would be a good time to also pull out the estate plan and give it a quick look to make sure that nothing important needs to be changed. Other clients review their estate plan when they are doing their taxes. In either case, the important point is to remember to pull out the documents and look them over to make sure that all of the important provisions are still current.

Important Life Events Should Trigger a Review and Perhaps an Update

As important as the annual review of an estate plan is, it is even more important to review the plan if you have gone through a substantial life event. Some of those events could include the following:

  • Birth or adoption of a child or grandchild
  • Death or change of circumstances for a guardian named for your minor children
  • Illness or death of a spouse
  • Illness or death of a personal representative or other fiduciary named in the will, power of attorney or health care directive
  • Purchase of a home or other large asset
  • Large increases in the value of investments or other assets
  • Receipt of an inheritance or substantial gift
  • Job changes such as a promotion, sale of a business or termination of employment
  • Marriage or divorce

As you can see from this list, these major events can be in the lives of either the client or in the lives of others that might have been named in the will as either recipients or fiduciaries. In either case, these types of events need to be reviewed and updates to the plan need to be considered as part of a review.

Do I Need to Call the Lawyer

Obviously not every event or change needs to involve our services. For example, the birth of a grandchild does not necessarily require the change of a plan. If a plan provides for specific gifts to named grandchildren than it should be reviewed for possible changes, but if the estate plan simply provides for a gift for all of my grandchildren, and includes afterborn grandchildren, then a change might not be needed.

It is always prudent, however, to run any change of circumstances by us so that you can have peace of mind that your plan will continue to perform as you originally intended.

We can help

The estate planning attorneys of Penzien & McBride, PLLC have been helping families and business owners to make these types of decisions for nearly two decades. If you are looking for a compassionate professional that can help you through the estate planning process, conduct a review of your existing estate plan, or if you would like additional information about our services, give us a call at (586) 690-4400 or complete our contact us form.