Top 5 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

The start of a new year often brings a renewed sense of purpose, a desire to fulfill procrastinated goals, and reflections on the passage of time. The year 2020 was a time of uncertainty for many people. So, as we turn the corner and begin anew in 2021, many of our clients are looking to the future with their Estate Plans in mind. With how quickly life and circumstances can change, it is essential that you not only have an estate plan, but have a plan that is up-to-date and captures the realities of your current life

An Estate Plan, including a Last Will and Testament, Health Care Directive, and Power of Attorney, is the primary tool that individuals use to ensure that their wishes are known and to take care of their family, loved ones, belongings, and businesses. Step one is to make an Estate Plan with your attorney, if you have not already.

Step two, if you already have one, is recognizing the importance of updating your Estate Plan for changes in your life.

Here are the Top 5 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan

#1 Changes in Relationships.

Life can come at your fast, from the joys of new grandkids and marriage to the pain of loss or divorce. Think back to when you first created your Estate Plan. If there have been any significant changes within your personal or business relationships, updating your Estate Plan to reflect those changes is essential.

Have you been divorced or newly married since you created your Estate Plan? Or, are you now in a long-term relationship and want to provide for that individual, even if you are not planning to marry? 

Since you wrote your Estate Plan, have you lost any family members or loved ones? This could include the loss of a spouse or loss of a trusted individual that you previously nominated as the guardian for your children? Or, have you welcomed any new family members, including new grandchildren or in-laws?

Did you incorporate any business succession planning within your Estate Plan? Have you sold or purchased any new businesses since then?

Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to update your Estate Plan to add new beneficiaries, elect new guardians for your children, change the succession plan for your business, or modify your plan to make sure that your assets and properties are distributed among your current family and loved ones in accordance with your desires.

#2 Change in Assets or Properties.

If what is included in your estate plan has changed, updating your Estate Plan is important. Did you inherit from a parent? Buy a new summer cabin? Downsize and move into your empty-nester home? Have your retirement assets grown?

Changes in the composition or values of your assets and properties can affect your intended distributions within your Estate Plan. To accomplish your goals, it is prudent to review your plan in light of any new or sold assets.

#3 Outside Decisions: Bye Bye MN or Buy Buy Outside-MN.

Every state has different approaches to estate planning. If you have moved out of Minnesota, or even just purchased real estate in a different state, including a winter condo in Florida or Arizona, you should make certain that your Estate Plan is legally sound in your new home state or is economical from an administrative and tax perspective. Discussing your move, or non-Minnesota real property purchase, with your attorney is recommended and may save your estate money. 

#4 Special Needs.

If any of the beneficiaries under your Estate Plan now have Special Needs, or specific health situations, your Estate Plan can be tailored to reflect those circumstances. If your Estate Plan was created without such considerations, or a loved one’s health condition has altered, you may want your Estate Plan to address that.

#5 Changes in Law.

The law is ever evolving, including changes in statutory requirements or the tax code. You may hear about such changes in the news, or through other trusted advisors. It is recommended that if you have not connected with your attorney since you completed your Estate Plan that you reach out to discuss how such changes may impact the administration of your Estate Planning documents.

As we enter the new year, the time to update your Estate Plan has never been better. Making sure you have an Estate Plan in place that reflects your life and your goals is essential. At Grabitske Law Firm, PLC, we can help you plan your estate so that you have peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order, regardless of what life may bring. We are here to serve our clients.

Contact us today to start or revisit your Estate Plan.

Paul Grabitske, Attorney at Law
Erin E. Kragh, Attorney at Law
124 E. Walnut Street, Suite 200
Mankato, MN 56001

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Grabitske Law Firm, PLC

For nearly two decades, Paul Grabitske has been helping clients with their legal issues in the areas of estate planning, probate, trust administration, business law, agricultural law and litigation.

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