In the realm of financial and estate planning, it is customary for a financial plan to undergo periodic reviews, typically on an annual basis. Conversely, estate plans often remain unexamined and untouched for extended periods. An estate plan transcends mere documentation; it constitutes a comprehensive strategy that encompasses reviewing: the distribution scheme, named fiduciaries and agents, proper titling of assets and beneficiary designations. This process increases the likelihood of a seamless transfer of your property to designated individuals, entities, or organizations. It is advisable to conduct a thorough review of your estate plan at regular intervals, with a suggested frequency of every five years, or upon the occurrence of significant life events, with a heightened frequency as one ages. There exist numerous compelling reasons to prioritize the review of your estate plan, some of which include:

1. Life Changes: Major life events such as marriage, divorce, death, the birth of children, and the addition of grandchildren can have profound impacts on both your personal and financial circumstances. By revisiting and updating your distribution scheme regularly, you can align it accurately with your evolving situation and desires.

2. Fiduciary and Agent Changes: Over time, the persons or entities you desire to control your affairs upon an incapacity or death may change. Reviewing your fiduciaries and agents and keeping them up to date can help mitigate potential disputes and confusion following your passing or incapacity.

3. Proper Titling of Assets: It is remarkable how many times a probate is required because someone forgot to title or retitle an asset into the name of their trust. At least every couple years you should review the titles on your bank accounts, investment accounts and real property to insure they are properly title in the name of your trust or at least have a beneficiary designation naming the trust as the beneficiary.

4. Beneficiary Designations: As you and your intended beneficiaries age, there may be changes to your retirement account and life insurance beneficiary designations that are necessary or appropriate. Whether to run these assets through your trust is complicated and requires a review and analysis of your assets, the distribution plan and the associated income tax consequences.

5. Tax and Legal Changes: Evolving tax laws and legal regulations may alter the distribution of your assets and potentially impact your intended beneficiaries. Seeking guidance from an experienced estate planning attorney who can apply your facts and circumstances to your documents is advisable to avoid unintended consequences.

6. Document Legitimacy: Outdated documents can pose challenges for you, your loved ones, and appointed agents in the future. Financial and healthcare institutions often recommend updating Financial and Healthcare Powers of Attorney every five years. Powers of Attorney exceeding this timeframe may raise questions regarding their legitimacy and the accuracy of patient intent. Proactively updating these documents helps preempt potential issues and ensures clarity and legitimacy in the execution of your wishes.

At DeAngelis Legal, we understand the importance of maintaining an up-to-date estate plan to protect your assets and ensure your intentions are executed smoothly in the future. For some clients we review their plan annually, but typically recommend a thorough estate plan review at least every five years, to ensure the accuracy and relevance of your estate planning documents. During these reviews, our team confirms your distribution scheme, fiduciaries and agents, funding matters and potential tax and legal changes that may impact the plan.

Maintaining an up-to-date estate plan is a vital component of responsible estate planning. By conducting periodic reviews and adjustments, you can safeguard your assets, protect your interests, and ensure the smooth execution of your intentions in the future. We are committed to serving you with the highest level of professionalism and expertise, and we encourage you to reach out with any changes, comments or questions you may have upon receiving the review.

Thank you for entrusting us with your estate planning needs.

If your documents were prepared by another firm and are interested in discussing your estate planning needs with us, please call us at (480) 281-1512 or fill out the form to the right.