Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. - Elder Law

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Estate plans require regular review

Many people in Florida have dedicated time and thought to thinking about the future of their estate after death. From developing a will to thinking about trusts and other instruments to help pass along property, estate planning is an important part of caring for the future of one’s family. However, due to changes in the law as well as changes in one’s own life and family, it is important to regularly review and update these documents.

When estate planning documents are left for years in storage or without review, problems can crop up that significantly affect the distribution of assets later on. There are a few key issues to look out for when reviewing and updating an estate plan. Several key documents in any estate plan include a will, a financial power of attorney and an advanced medical directive. Reviewing these every 10 years with an attorney can help to keep them current.

In some cases, people wish to add new beneficiaries to their estates; the birth of grandchildren or additional children is a common reason. In other cases, people may wish to remove beneficiaries after other changes in life. Minors can be added as beneficiaries, but there may be a need to pass assets in trust rather than an outright gift. The executor of the will should also be regularly refreshed; if a deceased or unavailable person is named, it will be up to the probate court to appoint a replacement.

There are a number of reasons to keep estate planning documents updated. As tax laws and estate tax exemptions change, there could be significant differences in how one chooses to deal with their estate. When reviewing one’s estate documents, working with an estate planning lawyer may help people to ensure that their wills, trusts and other documents meet current guidelines for best practices.