Estate planning attorneys routinely reach out to their clients when big tax laws pass. This is because those tax changes can change the effectiveness of an estate plan, especially one that relied on some aspect in the tax code that no longer exists. However, taxes are not the only reasons to revisit an estate plan.
Our estate plan will outline our beneficiaries and what they should receive. Though, those people change over time. Our relationships with them may change. They may have kids, get married or pass. All these events could change how we want to treat them in our estate plan.
Assets and debts
Over time, the value of our estate will ebb and flow. Sometimes, our assets and debts grow, and other times, they fall, and not always in lock step. Major swings in value, though, mean that our estate plans should be updated. For example, if we sell our family home or buy a vacation home, these are major swings that should be reflected in our estate plan.
Of course, our children are included in our estate plan as beneficiaries. However, for parents with young or disabled children, we also have guardianship provisions for their care. These provisions include who will care for them and give the guardians instructions for their care. Periodically, these provisions should be updated. For example, if our selected guardian decides they no longer want that responsibility, or if we decided on a different guardian, those provisions will need to be updated. Alternatively, maybe we simply need to take those provisions out because our minor children are no longer minor.
End-of-life and later-life planning
Springfield, Illinois, estate plans also include our wishes for end-of-life and later-life planning. Specifically, for end-of-life planning, our estate plans include funeral and burial plans, and healthcare proxies and our medical preferences, like life support. For later-life planning, estate plans can include trusts that help one qualify for Medicaid and other state or federal benefits, among many other options.