Estate planning, as many of our Alpharetta readers may be aware, is not so much an event or a task as a process. Estate planning is not something one does over a period of a few weeks or months, or even a few years, and then forgets about it.
An estate plan that is going to serve one well is something that is monitored on an ongoing basis and kept up to date with the goals and circumstances one brings to it.
The following are some reasons why it is important to continually monitor one's estate plan:
· Relationships can and do change over time
· Children may outgrow protective measures embedded in one's estate plan
· One's health needs become more apparent as one ages
· One's asset profile can change
· Financial goals can change with different stages of life
These and other changes can necessitate a review of an estate plan. Especially for older men and women, it is important to consider whether changes may be in order for one's estate plan. Planning that was done as a younger person may have centered around children. Older people who look back at their estate plans often find, however, that they have developed a greater concern for their own security and with leaving a legacy behind.
In addition to changing goals and circumstances, one's estate plan may also need a review because of changes in the way estate planning is done. One may be able to simplify one's plan or take advantage of new tools and techniques. Changing tax laws may have an effect on how one wishes to set up one's estate plan as well.
The bottom line is that an estate plan should not be considered set in stone until one has run the course to the finish. As long as one is living and breathing, one should consider from time to time whether their estate plan will satisfactorily serve their estate planning needs.
Source: Forbes, "Five Reasons Baby Boomers Need To Review Estate Plan (And It's Not About Taxes)," Deborah Jacobs, March 29, 2012.