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Unlike Fine Wine and Some Fancy Cheeses, an Estate Plan Doesn’t Get Better with Age

Happy-old-coupleYour estate plan may be aging as we speak. It could be getting obsolete and not reflect your current circumstance, objectives, and desires.

As the Nevada Appeal’s recent article “Is your estate plan obsolete?” reminds us, the only thing that is constant is change, and likewise, your estate plan may need to be modified in light of some changes. There will also be changes in the tax codes, new regulations, and court decisions to note regarding their effect on your estate plan. Plus, think about all of those who will need to be involved with your estate, such as guardians, trustees, executors, and agents. Their lives and circumstances may have also changed.

Due to low interest rates and lower interest income, some estate plans now provide a surviving spouse with more than just income. If the spouse is left with only income, it might mean he or she doesn’t have sufficient money on which to live. Your estate planning documents instead might provide either a percentage of the total assets or a fixed dollar amount (possibly adjusted for inflation) to be paid from income, capital gains and/or principal, not just income.

A healthcare power of attorney might need to be reviewed for compliance with HIPAA, so your family or agent can to talk and work with your doctors on medical issues. In addition, a change in your life like marriage, divorce, or the death of a spouse are important changes that might make you want to alter your estate plan. Similarly, the change in the marital status of a child or other beneficiary might also mean you need to review your plan with your estate planning attorney.

If you have loved ones you now support or have beneficiaries of more than small bequests, you should think about changes in their lives. Any changes in your health or that of a family member can have an effect on how your plan might be adjusted. There might be a new or different charitable interests you need to add to your estate plan.

Don’t allow your estate plan to get stale. Make updates regularly.

Reference: Nevada Appeal (October 11, 2016) “Is your estate plan obsolete?”

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