When did you last review your estate planning documents? If you prepared a complete plan, you probably signed a Will, a durable power of attorney, and an advanced directive. However, maybe you signed all these documents years ago and you don’t know if they still fit your lifestyle. Read on to learn the 3.5 reasons to change your estate plan.

Reason #1:  Your Finances Have Changed

Estate planning strategies vary depending on your estate’s value. If your net worth has decreased or, hopefully, increased substantially since your last estate plan review, review your plan with your estate planning attorney.

Reason #2:  Your Family Structure Has Changed

Major life events typically trigger a good ol’ estate plan review. Marriages, divorces, births, and death – they all dramatically alter your family. It’s likely your estate planning goals are different, too. For example, the birth of a new grandchild might get you started thinking about college savings plans or even just adding the newborn to your Will or trust.
Keep in mind that it is not only your Will that might need some alterations. For example, if you are divorced, did you name your spouse or in-laws as agents or personal representatives in your durable power of attorney or advanced directive? If so, it may be time to name new ones.

Reason #3: You Haven’t Reviewed Your Plan in a Long Time.

Even someone with a fairly simple, ordinary, easygoing life faces triumphs and trials. It’s likely that your life right now is not the same as it was a year ago . . . or five years ago . . . and so on. Has your estate plan kept up with your life?

Reason #3.5:  The Tax Man

Okay, this is only a .5 for a good reason: most of us will not need to escape the federal estate tax burden. However, this does not mean that you should ignore estate, gift, and income tax consequences of your plan:

  • Tax laws could change, making your plan out-of-date.
  • Watch for state estate tax and inheritance tax if you own property in another state.
  • If your estate will even come close to the federal estate tax exclusion of $11.18 million per person, adjust your estate plan accordingly.
  • So, pay attention, review your plan for tax issues, and watch for tax laws to change.

There’s No Time Like the Present. If you have not reviewed your plan in many years, this is the time.

Make an appointment to have your estate plan reviewed or to finally have a new plan prepared.

The attorneys at Miller Estate and Elder Law understand the estate planning needs of their clients. Contact Bill Miller at 256-251-2137 to schedule an appointment. Though our office is now located at 818 Leighton Avenue in Anniston, we serve clients in Gadsden, Hoover, Talladega, Vestavia Hills, and surrounding areas.

Check out our website for information and free resources.