We have sprung forward! Despite the loss of sleep, I always look forward to the return of daylight savings time. It means warming temperatures, more sunshine and the pursuit of outdoor hobbies. For many, there is also spring cleaning. In between the yard work and garage sales, consider spring cleaning for your estate plan. Here’s why:
- You don’t have an estate plan – By some estimates, over half of adults in America do not have even a basic last will and testament, let alone a living trust. Lack of an estate plan causes many problems, from unwanted inheritances to court-ordered guardianships for minor children.
- Changing Tax Laws – Congress overhauled the federal estate and gift tax laws in 2012, and last fall’s election results may lead to additional changes in the near future. If your estate plan is more than a few years old, there’s a good chance it’s obsolete.
- New Family Dynamics – Perhaps you have a new grandchild. Or maybe you are now in a position to benefit a favored charity. Whatever the case may be, new family dynamics warrant a review of your estate plan.
Estate planning attorneys often preach this to clients: estate planning is not a one-time event. To avoid probate and achieve one’s goals and wishes, they must update their estate plan throughout the years as circumstances change. Keep that in mind this spring!