Robert McCullock, CFP® explains that you should review your estate plan when something major happens in your family (death, birth, marriage, divorce, etc.) or when there is a change to the estate plan law.
“Hello, I’m Robert McCullock, Certified Financial Planner™ with Pure Financial Advisors, and this is your Question of the Week. This week’s question is: How often should I review my estate plan?
Well, there’s no simple answer to that, but there are a couple different triggers you should look at.
1) The first trigger you should look at is what has changed in your family dynamics? Every so many years, somebody is born, somebody dies, somebody gets married or divorced, etc. So as family changes, you’re going to want to go back and update your estate plan accordingly.
2) The second trigger is changes in estate plan law. For example, there have been a couple recent changes in the last ten years or so. The first one being if you look back at 2001, estate tax exemption which is the amount you are not taxed on passing your estate was $675,000 a person. If you look at that in 2015, that number has gone up to about $5.4 million per person. You need to review your trust and the trust structure to make sure that it still makes sense at $5.4 million versus the $675,000. Another change that has happened in estate tax law is a rule of law that came out called HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA has added increased privacy; this came out in 2003. Again, you’re going to want to look at your trust and make sure there is a HIPAA provision in there. What that will do is allow your trustee or successor trustee to enact the trust based on your wishes.
Again, there’s a couple reasons for reviewing. One is for personal reasons within your family, and two is for estate plan law changes. I’m Robert McCullock, Certified Financial Planner™ and that was your Question of the Week.”