When estate planning, it is important to not get led astray by common myths. Such misassumptions can greatly compromise a person’s ability to protect his or her family, future, property and legacy the way he or she desires.
Today, we’ll go over a myth regarding updating estate plans.
Estate planning isn’t a one-time event. It is an ongoing process that can be adjusted to meet changing needs and goals. Wills and similar tools can be updated as needed.
Now, many know that it is important to update an estate plan after a major life change, such as the birth of a child, a marriage or a divorce. However, some might assume that these types of events are the only reason one would need to adjust one’s estate plan. This leads to the myth that, if you haven’t had any big changes in your life, your estate plan is just fine and no updates are needed, regardless of how much time has passed.
However, the gradual passage of time can see things that can cause an estate plan to go out-of-date, even if no “major” life events have occurred. For example, over time, tax laws can change, one’s priorities and goals can shift, the value of one’s property can grow or shrink and the overall situation of one’s friends and family members can change (though things as basic as aging). All of these types of things can impact whether a given estate plan is still a good fit for a person.
So, leaving an estate plan as is for a long time without ever looking into if it should be updated can be risky. This can especially be the case for owners of small businesses and other complex assets, as such property can raise estate planning issues that require very careful tailoring.
Given this, it is important avoid falling prey to this myth. Generally, it is a wise to have an estate plan reviewed every few years, even if it seems like no significant events have occurred. Skilled estate planning attorneys can assist with reviewing plans and making any necessary updates.