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When Should I Come Back to Re-Evaluate My Estate Plan?

Uncertain times, like what are facing right now, cause all of us to reflect on our lives. We find ourselves asking questions such as: Are we protected against uncertainty? Are our loved ones protected? Have we made the plans we need to see us through a crisis, or do we need to make changes?

Once you have a Kentucky estate plan in place, it is always a good idea to re-evaluate it periodically to be sure it still serves your needs. Life has a way of taking the odd U-turn now and then, and any significant changes to your situation could impact your estate in ways you might not have considered.

Even if it was created years ago, your estate plan should reflect your current situation. Your decision makers, legacy, and personal choices should all be kept current. This is one of the reasons that, over time, it may need to be updated. As such, this planning tool should not be something you hide away and leave forgotten in a file cabinet or safe. Let us share just a few of these life changes that might mean you need to update your Kentucky estate plan.

1. Moving out of state. Every state has different laws pertaining to estate planning and taxes. If you move out of the state where your estate plan was created your wishes may not be respected in the new state. Further, there may be higher costs and more complex procedures where probate is concerned. A revision of your current estate plan in your new state can help to address these issues.

2. Divorce or Marriage. Many married couples have plans that bequeath the entirety of their estate to their spouse, but there could be other considerations as well. Be sure to review the beneficiary allocation on all of your insurance and estate documents, as well as the legal authority you give to another person as your decision maker.

3. Death of a Beneficiary or Agent. If you are leaving a legacy to a family member or if you have appointed a loved one as your agent under your durable power of attorney, you will need to take action if this person predeceases you. Do not leave your estate plan to chance, even if you have named secondary and tertiary decision makers or beneficiaries.

4. Changes to Tax Laws. Tax laws change from time to time, both on the state and federal level. These changes could impact the amount of taxes your estate is liable for once you are gone. Be sure to ask your questions of your estate planning attorney so he or she can help to ensure that your loved ones are not left with an overly burdensome tax burden.

5. Disability and Health Concerns. If you are facing a serious illness that puts you at risk of incapacity, you should meet with your estate planning attorney. He or she can help you understand how your potential need for care in the future could impact your planning and may recommend that you meet with an elder law attorney to determine how you may best afford this care. 

To learn more about how you can protect your assets no matter what life throws at you, we encourage you to reach out today to schedule an appointment to review your estate plan.