While one critical error in estate planning is to not have an estate plan, another one is to not update one after creating it. Just having an estate plan is not enough—updating it regularly is equally important to ensure that one’s assets are distributed as one intends. While it is a good idea to revise one’s estate plan every three years, unless there is a change in tax law or other applicable laws that affect the estate. In addition to that, Alabama residents should be updating their estate plans when life-changing events take place.
Many may not realize that estate plans are not national. Therefore, the minimum a spouse can inherit may differ from one state to another, as may the number of witnesses required to validate a will. Documents such as medical directives, living wills and powers of attorney may need to be updated according to the law of the new state.
Secondly, if there is a change in one’s assets or liabilities, whether up or down, the estate plan should be revised. It might be a good idea to review how property will be distributed if something has gone up in value or an asset has been sold.
When there has been a change in family composition, such as a birth, a death, a divorce or an adoption, it is a good idea to revise documents to make sure they reflect these changes. Additionally, trustees might become inappropriate because of a change in circumstances and it might be wise to change them. Speaking to an experienced attorney may be one way to ensure documents remain valid and current.