19 Apr 2012

Keep Your Estate Plan Healthy With A Periodic Check-Up

Life is constantly changing. Family dynamics, relationships, world outlook, finances, family businesses and the law all change over time.  It is important that your estate plan changes and grows with you and continues to meet the needs of you and your family. Just like you need to go to the doctor on a regular basis to have a check-up, your estate plan should have a periodic check-up to insure that it is “healthy” and continues to be the best estate plan for you.

As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to review your estate plan every two to three years to insure that:

1.  The persons you named to serve as Trustees of your revocable living trust, Executors of your Will, Agents under your Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management, Agents under your Advance Health Care Directive, Conservators under your Nomination of Conservators, and Guardians under your Nomination of Guardians for Minor Children are still the right people for the job.

2.  The distribution provisions in your revocable living trust still make sense as they did two or three years ago.  For example, maybe you made gifts to certain extended family members that you now may want to delete.  Also, you may have provided for outright gifts to your children and now would prefer that these gifts remain in trust for their benefit during their lifetimes for asset protection purposes.

3.  Your wishes regarding your health care, end of life decisions, and instructions regarding the disposition of your bodily remains set forth in your Advance Health Care Directive still meet your current outlook on these issues.

4.  Succession planning for your business still makes sense in the current economy.

In addition to reviewing your estate plan every two to three years, you should review it when there is a life change in your family or finances, such as:

1. Birth of a child or grandchild.

2. Death of a family member.

3. Marriage.

4. Divorce.

5. Significant increase or decrease in net wealth – including receiving an inheritance.

6. Incapacity or disability of a family member.

7. Desire to incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan.

8. Need to implement business succession planning.

9. Need to implement asset protection planning (but not after the lawsuit against you has already been filed).

10. Need to implement insurance planning.

11.  Change in the law.

In addition, many people review their estate plan to make sure that it is in order before they leave on vacation and before they have to go to the hospital for a procedure.  Keep your estate plan “healthy” and give it a periodic check-up.

If you would like to discuss this or other trusts and estates issues, please contact the attorneys at Drucker Law Offices, 468 North Camden Drive, 2nd Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, 310.285.5375 Tel, 310.444.9754 Fax, www.druckerlaw.com

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