How Often Do I Need to Revise My Estate Plan?
Many Florida residents treat estate planning as a one-time affair. They think that once they have made a will and signed a power of attorney, they never need to think about estate planning again. But in practical terms, this makes little sense. After all, your family and financial situation does not remain static throughout your lifetime. As these circumstances change, so too must your estate plan.
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “How often do I need to revise my estate plan?”, here are a few general guidelines to consider.
- The Impact of Marriage or Divorce – Anytime you get married or divorced, it is a good idea to sit down with an estate planning attorney to discuss the potential impact of these events, especially in situations where you (or your spouse) are remarried and have children from prior relationships.
- The Birth of a New Child – Indeed, anytime you are expecting a new child, it is worth reviewing your estate plan to ensure they are adequately provided for in your will or trust.
- Deaths in the Family – If you have recently lost a spouse, child, or other family member, that may prompt the need for changes in your own estate plan, particularly if the deceased was named as a beneficiary or fiduciary.
- Helping Family Members with Special Needs – If you have a spouse or child who relies on public benefit programs such as Medicaid to care for their special needs, you may need to revise your estate plan to ensure any potential inheritance will not jeopardize those benefits.
- Moving to (or Away from) Florida – While Florida law does recognize most estate planning documents prepared by non-Florida estate planning attorneys, it is still important to review your wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives anytime you plan to move to a different state, as each jurisdiction has its own unique laws that need to be followed.
- Starting Your Own Business – Many people overlook their businesses when making their estate plan, but if you have recently started your own business, you should consider “succession planning” for how to continue, sell, or otherwise dispose of your business should something unexpected happen to you.
- Changes in Your Assets – Generally speaking, you make an estate plan without knowing much your estate will actually be worth, but if you have recently experienced a sudden financial gain (or loss), it may be worth revisiting your estate plan to consider the potential tax consequences.
- Changes if the Law – Even if none of the above issues apply to you, it is still worth reviewing your estate plan with a qualified attorney periodically to learn how changes in federal or state laws may impact you and your family.
So if it has been a few years since you last looked at your estate plan, the time may be right to conduct a review. If you need advice or assistance from an experienced Fort Myers estate planning attorney, contact the Kuhn Law Firm, P.A., at 239-333-4529 today to schedule a free consultation.