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Updating Your Estate Plan As Your Life Changes

By Howard C. Stross
June 09, 2014

Many people incorrectly think that estate planning is a one-time transaction. They sign their estate planning documents and then file them away. In reality, your life is constantly changing and it is important that you are updating your estate plan to change along with it.

You should consider reviewing and updating your estate plan for the following events: 

  • You are married or divorced.
  • Illness or death of your spouse.
  • The birth or adoption of a new child or grandchild.
  • The addition of caring for an adult relative.
  • A minor child becomes as adult.
  • Change in circumstance, declining health, or death of a successor trustee, personal representative, healthcare surrogate, or guardian for your minor children.
  • Purchase of real estate outside of Florida. You may need to make sure it is properly funded to your living trust.
  • Purchase of a business.
  • Career changes or retirement. You may roll your 401(k) over to an IRA and should review the beneficiary designations.
  • You discover that a beneficiary develops a substance abuse or gambling problem.
  • You become aware that one of your children has trouble managing money and you are concerned that their creditors might end up with the inheritance.
  • Beneficiary becomes disabled, ill, or passes away.
  • Significant change in finances.
  • Relocation to another state.

In addition, you should reevaluate your goals from time to time. You may have changed your mind about a variety of issues addressed by your estate plan. Do you want a different person to be charge of settling your estate, rather than the one who is currently named in your living trust or will? The way one of your beneficiaries is leading his or her life may make you want to put their bequest into a trust rather than granting it outright. Maybe your children are doing well on their own and funding your grandchildren’s education is a higher priority now.

If you already have an estate plan in place, you deserve congratulations. But you also need to plan on updating your estate plan from time to time as your situation or needs change. Sounds like work, doesn’t it? We have a program that helps you with reviewing and updating your estate plan. Stross Law Firm offers an estate planning maintenance program, Peace Of Mind A Life Plan for Everyone®. Through this program, reviews and updates are included as part of the annual subscription. If you aren’t a member yet, call us at 813-852-6500 to schedule a free consultation so we can help you with updating your estate plan.

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