Having a comprehensive estate plan in place is the best way to protect your assets, your loved ones, and yourself. That plan, however, may not work as intended if you fail to update it on a routine basis or when life events call for a review. In fact, having an outdated estate plan can be worse than not having one at all. At Amato Law, PLLC our experienced estate planning attorney will be happy to review your current estate plan and help you update any outdated documents.
How Outdated Documents Can Wreak Havoc on an Estate Plan
The documents you incorporate into your estate plan should work together to accomplish a variety of inter-related goals. A single outdated document, however, can cause the entire plan to fall apart. Common examples of how outdated estate planning documents can wreak havoc on your estate plan include:
- Last Will and Testament. Failing to update your Will could lead to assets being left out, causing you to unintentionally leave behind an intestate estate. It could also result in assets being gifted to someone you no longer wanted to inherit from your estate, such as an ex-spouse
- Trust Agreement. A common mistake is to appoint a Trustee when a trust agreement is created and then forget about the entire agreement. If that Trustee dies or becomes incapacitated, and you fail to update the trust agreement, someone you did not choose could end up managing the trust assets.
- Life Insurance Policies and Retirement Accounts. Failing to review beneficiaries of a life insurance policy or retirement account can result in a beneficiary not of your choosing inheriting the assets held in the account.
- Advanced Directives. Choosing your Agent in an advance directive lets you decide who will make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them. Forgetting to update that document might mean the wrong person ends up making those decisions.
- Power of Attorney. If you forget to review and revise (or terminate) a Power of Attorney you could unintentionally leave someone with considerable authority over your assets.
Are My Estate Planning Documents Outdated?
Although there is no hard and fast rule, it is best to schedule of routine review of your estate plan every three to five years during your working years. In addition to routinely scheduled reviews, certain life events should prompt an immediate update to your estate plan, such as:
- Divorce or death of a spouse
- Birth of a child
- Youngest child reaching adulthood
- Move to another state
- Significant change in your assets
- Death of a beneficiary
- Death of a fiduciary, such as your Executor or a Trustee
- Serious illness
- Reaching retirement age
The estate planning attorney at Amato Law, PLLC can help you review your existing estate plan and make any necessary changes to ensure that it works as intended. Contact our office today by calling 212-355-5255 or filling out our online contact form.