Year End Estate Planning

Review your estate plan to ensure it continues to meet your needs

As one year winds down and we ready ourselves for the next, don't forget to update important documents, such as your estate plan. An annual review ensures that your estate plan continues to work effectively. Estate planning documents are executed with certain formalities and may be changed or revoked only through similar procedures. The review should cover four basic subject areas and any changes should be made with an experienced estate planning attorney.

  1. Changes in Your Financial Situation. A change in your financial situation may affect your estate plan. For example, you may wish to alter the disposition of your property; should there be a substantial increase or decrease in the size of your estates. Additionally, a change in the size of your estates may require a change in the estate tax savings devices used in your current estate plan.
  2. Changes in Your Family Status. Your estate plan was prepared on the assumption that your named descendants and/or relatives will survive you. You should review your estate planning documents to determine if any changes should be made due to a change in your family status.
  3. Changes in the Tax Law Relating to Your Estate Plan. The federal estate tax laws are in a state of flux. The nature and frequency of any changes cannot be predicted. Meeting annually with your experienced estate planning attorney will help make sure to minimize the effect of any change in the federal estate tax law on your estate plan.
  4. Changes in California Law Relating to Your Wills and Trust Declaration. California law relating to wills and trusts has undergone comprehensive changes in recent years. While there are no anticipated changes in California law on a scale similar to what has been experienced in the past, California law will most likely change over time. Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure any changes in the law are reflected in your estate plan.

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