A few years ago, I completed the 13-mile, 7,400-foot hike to the top of Pikes Peak. Once the strenuous trek was over, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment … and no desire to do it again any time soon!
Many people feel the same way about estate planning. Once their plan is finally signed, they usually feel satisfied and relieved, and the thought of revisiting those issues again is not very appealing. However, faithful stewardship requires regular attention to how God is moving in the relationships, resources, and responsibilities in our lives. Life doesn’t stand still, and estate plans need to adjust with it.
Do you want to make sure that your estate plan is still on track? Review these 15 life events that often trigger the need to have your estate plan reviewed and see if any of them apply to you:
Births (children, grandchildren, and other loved ones)
Changes in a beneficiary’s life stage (child, young adult, mature adult, or elderly adult)
Change in a beneficiary’s spiritual journey
Increases in value to your asset holdings
Decreases in value to your asset holdings
Changes in your business ownership
Changes to your types of asset holdings (real estate, securities, oil and gas interest, etc.)
Changes in your occupation and/or retirement status
Lawsuits or bankruptcies for you or a beneficiary
Changes in the law (tax law, trust and probate law, property law, creditor protection law)
A move to a new state
If any of these events have occurred in your family since you last updated your estate plan, it may be time for a review. Even if you haven’t experienced any of these life events in recent years, it is a good practice to review your estate plan every three to five years to be sure it complies with the latest tax law developments.
While it may be tempting to consider it done, it’s much wiser to make sure your plan still fits your goals to bless your heirs with a well-planned inheritance.
About the Author
Jeanne McMains has been a practicing attorney in the areas of estate planning, business succession, and non-profits since 1995. She currently serves as the Vice President of Gift Planning with The National Christian Foundation where she assists families nation-wide with achieving their charitable gift planning goals.