After going through the process of creating a will and other estate planning documents, many people have tendency to put everything away in a file or safe deposit box and forget about it. Years go by, life changes, people pass away, all while the estate plan gathers dust. As a result, by the time you pass away, that will or trust you made years ago may no longer reflect your wishes.
It is wise to revisit your estate documents every three to five years. This allows you to make any updates that might be needed regarding your assets and intended beneficiaries. Working with an experienced attorney, you might also consider revisions based on changes in tax laws or relevant Arizona legal standards.
In other words, estate planning shouldn’t be viewed as a “set it and forget it” proposition. If you haven’t looked at your key documents in a while, a review session could be worthwhile to discuss:
- Any changes you want to make to beneficiaries, trustees or executors
- Advances in medicine and technology that may have changed your mind about the types of end-of-life care you want to receive
- Adding or changing gifts to nonprofits, universities or charitable organizations
- If you have a trust, ensuring that it is correctly funded and all property that you intend to include in the trust is indeed included
- Legal developments that might compel changes to your existing estate plan
You don’t have to wait for periodic reviews to update your plans, however. After a major life event, you might want to make significant revisions in order to reflect your new circumstances. Examples of things that might compel changes include:
- Getting married or divorced
- The birth (or adoption) of a child or grandchild
- A spouse’s death, disability or illness
- The death of a person you named as guardian for your minor children
- The death of someone you chose as an executor, trustee or beneficiary
- Sales or purchases of major assets, such as a home or business
- Receiving a substantial inheritance from someone who recently passed away
The specific process of updating documents depends on the situation. Sometimes all you need is a simple amendment or codicil. Other times a more comprehensive overhaul is the right option, or you may be better off executing an entirely new set of documents.
Contact our Experienced Legal Team Today
At Pennington Law, PLLC we are committed to helping people and families find peace of mind though careful estate planning. Our attorneys would be happy to review your will, trust and any other documents and help you make updates as needed. Please call 623-208-7867 or contact our office online today. We have offices conveniently located in Surprise and Sun City West and serve clients across the Phoenix metro.