“An ounce of prevention.” It is impossible to know what tomorrow will bring, so it is important to put a plan in place to provide for the unexpected.
If you become incapacitated and unable to make health care or financial decisions, unless you have powers of attorney in place, a court may have to appoint someone to make those decisions for you. In addition, a court may have to determine who will care for your minor children if you have not named someone to act as their caregiver. In the absence of an estate plan, state law will decide who receives your assets – and they may not be the beneficiaries you would have chosen. If you do not have an estate plan—or if you only have a will—your property and money will have to go through an expensive, time-consuming, and public probate proceeding before being transferred to your loved ones.
Changes in life circumstances
If there have been changes in relationships – your children have grown up, or if deaths, births, marriages, or divorces have occurred, it is prudent to update your estate plan to reflect those changes. You should also review the people you have named as your executor, trustee, guardian for your children, or agent under a power of attorney to ensure that they are still able to fulfill those roles. Financial changes – the purchase or sale of real estate or a business may also impact your existing estate plan. Moving to a new state is another event that should trigger a review of your plan.
Changes in the law
Since 2018 there have been massive changes in federal tax law and the most recent change is the enactment of the “SECURE Act,” which became effective January 1, 2020. It benefits retirees by increasing the age (from 70 ½ to 72) at which time they are required to start taking distributions. However, it also eliminates the tax advantage previously available to many beneficiaries, who were able to take distributions from those accounts over their individual life expectancy.
Don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit
Regular reviews are needed to ensure that your estate plan reflects any recent amendments to state laws governing wills, trusts, health care directives, powers of attorney, and estate or inheritance taxes.
Contact Davis Law Group at 757-420-7722 to schedule a no charge consultation so we can help ensure that your estate plan is in the best of health.