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How Often Do I Need To Review And Update My Estate Plan?

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  1. As a general rule, a person should review their estate plan every 3 or 4 years.  However, if there are significant changes to a person’s family, persons named to act as fiduciaries (e.g., trustee, or guardian for minor children), immediate attention to one’s estate plan is required.
  2. All states have laws regarding “pretermitted heirs” – i.e., what spouses or children that didn’t exist at the time a person’s estate plan was completed will take if a person dies before referencing them as part of his or her plan.  These rules call for the estate of a married person who hasn’t revised his or her estate plan since marriage to distribute 1/3 to 1/2 of the person’s assets outright to his or her spouse.  Maybe the person wants his or her spouse to benefit from all the assets, but to have those assets maintained in trust for the spouse.  Maybe the person wants to leave assets to others because his or her spouse has enough of his or her own assets.  Therefore, a person’s estate plan must be revised after marriage to avoid the application of the pretermitted heir statutes.

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