California residents with estate plans in place enjoy peace of mind because they know that difficult end-of-life matters have been addressed, but they should not become complacent. An estate plan reflects an individual’s circumstances, and it should be revisited, and revised if necessary, when those circumstances change. It is always prudent to review estate plans after major life events like the birth of a child or a marriage or a divorce, and it is also a good idea to revisit wills, powers of attorney and other estate planning documents when major changes are made to tax laws.
Reasons to revise an estate plan
Individuals put estate plans into place to ensure that their loved ones will be taken care of according to their wishes when they pass away, so they should revise these arrangements when their wishes change. Failing to update an estate plan after a divorce or other major life event could lead to a dispute between beneficiaries, and these legal battles can become bitter when the decedent remarried before passing away.
How often should estate plans be reviewed?
You should review your estate plan every three to five years to make sure that the provisions of your will or trust still reflects your wishes. You should also consider revising estate planning documents if you move to another state or changes are made to federal or state tax laws or the rules dealing with powers of attorney or medical directives. If you include an irrevocable trust in your estate plan, you should think carefully when you create it because it generally cannot be changed.
Peace of mind
An estate plan should provide peace of mind. If you have one in place, you should review it on a periodic basis or when your circumstances change to make sure that it still reflects your wishes. Common reasons for modifying estate plans include major life events like a marriage or divorce, the death of an executor or trustee, the purchase or sale of major assets and revisions to tax laws.