Estate Planning – When is the right time to create or review your estate plan? We all know people who believe that you can plan too much, and tell you to “live in the moment.” But attorneys with experience in estate planning in Florida know the benefits of taking a long-term view of your estate plan to maneuver the twists and turns of life that might come your way. When you anticipate aspects of life changing over time, and make relevant estate planning revisions as those changes occur, those you love the most will benefit.
By some estimates, more than half of all Americans lack even a basic estate plan. They don’t have a Will, an advance health care directive, or Trust (when applicable). If this is true in your case problems will arise when you can no longer make your own decisons, or when you ultimately pass away. You owe it to your family to contact an attorney to set at least these fundamental documents in place.
When you have an existing estate plan
Residents of this region are generally knowledgeable about estate matters and may already have a basic estate plan in place. If you are one of those residents, congratulations! But it’s worth asking – when was the last time you reviewed the elements of your estate plan with an attorney?
Reviewing your estate plan on a regular basis, much like scheduling your annual physical, is the best practice over time. Estate planning attorneys comment that the general rule is to conduct a review of your current estate plan at least once every five years.
If you are uncomfortable with that time frame for reviewing your estate plan, you should at least review your estate plan when a major change occurs in your life, or if unexpected events develop. These events happen more regularly than you can imagine, and include the following:
- A major illness affecting you or your spouse.
- The death of a previously designated personal representative or trustee.
- A change in marital status.
- Changes in family relationships.
- Preparing for retirement.
- The death of a previously named beneficiary.
- The addition of a new child or grandchild to the family.
- An asset shift, whether by sale or purchase.
- The expected maturity of a long-term investment.
Changes in tax and estate laws also serve as important triggers for a review of your estate plan. Such changes may not come often, but they are certainly within the realm of possibility. When they occur, your estate plan needs a checkup to determine any implications that could affect your assets or their distribution to your beneficiaries.
Whether the issue is either creating your first estate plan, or revising one that already exists, obtain advice from an accomplished attorney to ensure your estate plan is suited to your individual purposes and needs. The estate planning professionals at VanNess & VanNess, P.A. look forward to meeting with you to discuss your short-term and long-term estate planning goals.