Posted on April 6, 2021

Spring Cleaning: 3 Reasons to Revisit Your Estate Plan & Documents

There’s a scene in a lot of movies where a character finds an old book covered in dust, blows off the dust and sits down to see what’s inside.

If that dusty old book is like your Estate Plan, it’s time to write a new chapter to the book. That old plan may be more a trip down memory lane than a robust plan for the future.

Following are three scenarios that might prompt you to re-examine your Estate Plan.

1] The Children Have Grown

Maybe you prepared your estate plan when your children were young:

  • You were worried about protecting them if anything happened to you.
  • They needed this help because they were too young to manage life on their own.
  • You named guardians to take care of them and trustees to manage the money you wanted to leave for them.

But time flies fast and children are now adults. Now, you’re not worried about guardians and may not be concerned about trustees. There are new issues and life events that may cause you to update your estate plan in several ways:

  • Change your fiduciary — Someone who would take active roles in assisting you as power of attorney, health care representative or executor in your will.
  • Change beneficiaries — Your grandchildren could be added as beneficiaries in your estate planning documents, or you could remove someone.
  • Account for difficult situations — Perhaps you need to set up a trust if one of your children has special needs and can’t take possession of an inheritance; or has issues like addiction or gambling, or a rocky marriage that could jeopardize a gift you leave.

Sometimes the route we expect to travel has roadblocks and detours. When you review and update your estate plan, it allows you to address those issues.

2] Your Parents Need You Now!

When you originally prepared your estate planning documents you might have been relying on your parents to step in and help if anything happened to you — as an agent pursuant to your power of attorney, your health care representative, guardians of your children, or trustees of your children’s trusts.

Now, your parents might not be in a position to help in those roles — they’ve aged and their vitality and cognitive abilities may be compromised. It may be time to replace them as fiduciaries.

In fact, they may now be looking to you for help — and need you to fulfill these roles for them!

3] The Passage of Time

Change is one of the only certainties in life. If you’re not paying careful attention, you miss the changes because they quickly become your new normal. But if you’re not looking you might not be conscious of how much things have changed in a short period of time.

Sometimes life’s events dictate when it’s time to update your estate planning documents. Most times, you should review your documents simply because time has passed and circumstances change.

If your estate plan is old and the documents dusty like an old book, it’s time to clean them up.

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Price & Price attorneys have received recognition from various groups and publications. Specific awards are noted on our attorney bios. More information about each of these awards and the methodology used for selection can be found on the following links. Super Lawyers and SJ Magazine 2017 Top Attorneys. No aspect of these accolades has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

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