If getting organized is part of your New Year's resolutions, you are probably planning to go from room to room getting rid of what you no longer need and updating areas that look tired and worn out. Your goal is to make practical use of your living space and create a more welcoming environment for your family.
The same can be true for your estate plan. While organizing your home, you may find it useful to take some time to refresh your will, trust and other important documents. Depending on how long it has been since you reviewed these plans, it may be an urgent matter.
Your estate plan is not a stagnant document
As much of a challenge as it may have been to muster the time, energy and state of mind to create your estate plan, you may be disappointed to know that most plans will need a review every few years. If you have had a major life change, which is not uncommon, you may need to look at your plan to ensure it is up to date and reflects the latest changes in your life.
The problem with failing to revisit your estate plan as time passes it that your assets and beneficiaries may change. Additionally, Ohio and federal laws regarding taxes or estate plans may also change, perhaps leaving you unprepared and your family unprotected. Some common events that may render your estate plan obsolete include the following:
- You move into or out of Ohio, which means your estate plan, including powers of attorney and medical directives, will be subject to the laws of your new state.
- You purchase a vacation home in another state or sell property you listed as an asset in your will or trust.
- You lose a beneficiary, either through divorce or death, and leaving those beneficiary designations unchanged may cause confusion and complication after your death.
- You welcome new people into your family, such as a new spouse, son- or daughter-in-law, child, or grandchild, whom you want to include as a beneficiary.
- You decide to disinherit someone who has disappointed you, betrayed you or become estranged from the family.
- You retire, lose your job, sell your business or have another change of fortune that alters the scope of your estate.
- Those you have chosen as trustees or executors are no longer appropriate for the roles.
You may also simply change your mind. It is not unreasonable to reach a stage in life when your interests turn to more charitable causes. You may wish to divide your estate differently to satisfy your goals. At any time you face a change in life that affects your estate plan, you would be wise to seek the advice of your attorney to learn the best course of action to keep your plans vibrate and complete.