Updating Your Existing Estate Plan

If you once had an estate plan prepared by an attorney, you may be wondering, is it still valid? Do you need a new one? This is actually a fairly common question. Some people pull out their old file, dust it off, and notice with surprise that they haven’t looked at their estate plan in twenty plus years. Maybe you need a whole new plan. Maybe an inexpensive, simple amendment is all that’s necessary.

Chances are, if you had an estate plan drawn up by an attorney, you don’t need a new one. You might, but probably not. But you might need amendments to bring it up to date and deal effectively with your changed circumstances.

Many people prepare estate plans when their children are minors. While at this stage in your life, you may not have many worldly goods to put in an estate planning vehicle such as a trust, your children are vastly more important than any property you’ll ever own, you so make sure your wishes regarding your children are clearly written down.

Well, in ten years, your children may very well be adults.

In twenty years, they will be.

Maybe you haven’t touched your estate plan in thirty years.

A lot can change in ten, twenty, or thirty years. Children grow up, people get divorced, assets increase, minds change. Maybe when your children were young, you made a sibling your trustee. Now you have responsible children working high-responsibility jobs and you realize one or more of your children would be better trustees.

Some estate plans are so out of line with current realities that a whole new plan becomes necessary. Maybe one of your children or grandchildren has special needs. Special trust terms can help with that. Maybe one of your children has crippling debt. Special trust terms can help you benefit your child without all the money going to the debt. These types of issues can develop years after you first put your estate plan in place.

In most cases, the structure of what you have will work fine. Instead of a more expensive “new” plan, a few simple less expensive amendments may be in order.

Whether you have an estate plan you want updated, or you have no estate plan and you want to set one up, call us at 417.967.0066 and schedule an appointment.

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