Thursday, April 2, 2009

Is it time to review your estate plan?

Roughly 50 percent of American do not have a will, which means the other half do. Having completed a will is not sufficient, one must review the documents periodically to make sure things still make sense. What is periodically? I advise client that it is every 5 to 7 years, or earlier if you've had a major life event (change in marital / partner status, birth of a child/grandchild, or a death in the family).

Recently the New York Times ran an article, Smaller Though It May Be, It's Time To Look At The Estate, about the wealthy, who are concerned with estate taxes, who are getting up the nerve to review estate plans following the financial crisis. One sentence jumped out at me, and it is worth sharing:

The primary goal (of estate planning) has always been how to bequeath what you have to the heirs you picked. And if handled wrongly, wills can become a vehicle that destroys families.
As the article says, whether you have $50,000 or $5 million -- make sure what you've taken the time to put in writing still makes sense....and is not too vague.

As always, it is best to consult an attorney who specializes in estate planning and probate.

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