Richard N. Barnes
How often should you review and update your will and trust?
This is a question that I often get asked. A common response you might see is "at least every 5 years," but really, you should review and update your documents sooner if you have a major life-changing event, such as: marriage, divorce, death of a loved one, or birth of a child. Any of these could warrant making significant changes to your will and trust.
You should also review your documents every couple of years to make sure they still line up with your present wishes. Here are some things to look for when you review your will and trust:
Has your distribution plan changed? Check to see how your assets are to be divided after your death. Are your wishes still in line with how your will and trust are set up? When I am asked to prepare amendments to estate planning documents, this is usually the section that gets changed.
Who is going to be in charge to carry out your wishes in your will and trust? It is important to review who you have chosen to be your personal representative (executor) and successor trustee fairly regularly. As years pass, circumstances change and often it is necessary to choose new successors due to death or age of the people originally selected.
Do you have minor children? Who have you selected to be the guardians of your children if you should pass away while they are still young? Are the guardians you nominated in your will still available and capable of raising your children?
Have you completed a health care power of attorney and advance medical directive? If so, how long ago were those documents completed? Back in 2009, the Utah state legislature radically changed the requirements for these forms. I’m often surprised how many people still have outdated documents relating to their health care wishes.
Have you purchased any new real estate or moved to a new home? If so, you will want to make sure your new property has been transferred to your trust in order to avoid probate.
Of course, if you have not completed your estate planning, give us a call at 801-810-4893 or email at email@example.com and we can set up a free consultation to talk about your estate planning options. On the other hand, if you already have completed your estate planning documents and would like a free review, give me a call as well and we can go through your documents to make sure they are up to date and in line with your wishes. Our contact information can be found HERE.