Although reviewing your existing estate plan and its component documents and the beneficiaries on your life insurance and retirement accounts may not be your idea of an exhilarating activity, it should be done on a periodic basis. After all, children do get older and inter-personal relationships change and may impact upon your choice of guardians, conservators, Personal Representatives, Trustees and agents under Powers of Attorney. Time passes and laws change. For example, the estate tax exemption equivalent has increased from $675,000 in 2000 to $5,450,000 in 2016. This change alone may warrant significant changes to the tax planning structure of an existing plan. Furthermore, documents age and as they do some financial institutions or health care providers may question whether they are still valid. And, consider the fact that you may be utilizing your computer or mobile device to access financial accounts and other sites where your trove of family pictures resides. What happens if your spouse or family cannot access those accounts if you should become disabled or die?
We have prepared a Questionnaire that highlights areas that might themselves be a reason to consider updating your documents. Ask yourself the following questions:
SINCE THE PREPARATION OF YOUR ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS:
1. Have there been any births, deaths, marriages or divorces in your immediate family?
2. Has the size of your estate either substantially increased or substantially decreased?
3. Have you acquired additional life insurance?
4. Have you obtained any life insurance loans?
5. Have any of the persons named in your Estate Planning documents died?
6. Are there any persons not named in your Estate Planning documents for whom you would now like to make provisions?
7. Are there any specific gifts in your Estate Planning documents which you would like to change?
8. Has any of the property specifically given by your Estate Planning documents been sold, lost or otherwise disposed of?
9. Have you mortgaged or sold on a land contract any real property given under your Estate Planning documents?
10. Have you made any large gifts or loans to any persons who are beneficiaries under your Estate Planning documents?
11. Have you moved? If so, please provide us with your new address.
12. Has a child entitled to receive property under any of the Estate Planning documents now reached the age of eighteen?
13. Have you acquired any property in another state?
14. Have you taken or given a long lease on land?
15. Has your named personal representative (formerly executor), trustee, guardian or conservator died or moved?
If the answer to any of the questions is yes, you should consider reviewing your planning with us so that it will continue to reflect your current circumstances and desires regarding the disposition of your estate.