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Estate plans should be updated regularly

One common reason why Florida residents may fail to update their estate plan is because their estate planning lawyer fails to bring it to their attention. While having estate planning completed may relieve individuals and make them feel that an important consideration has been taken care of, an estate plan is not to be completed and then forgotten.

Research shows that most of the estate plans for wealthy individuals were over five years old at the time of the testator's death. Similar results were found for individuals who were not wealthy at their death. Some reasons why individuals may avoid updating their estate plan is because of the cost associated with the change, having to make difficult decisions about their plan and simply because it was not brought to their attention. Some highly publicized disputes have arisen between heirs when estate plans were outdated. In some of these cases, these disputes could have been avoided without having to eat up the money in the estate plan because of expensive litigation. When an estate-planning lawyer facilitates difficult conversation, the impact of decisions can be discussed before altering the estate plan.

There are several key opportunities to update an estate plan. Many of these are after important life changes, including marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or entering a lucrative business venture. Additionally, an estate plan should be reviewed after changes in tax laws are made that may affect it. By keeping an updated estate plan, individuals can ensure that their final wishes are carried out.

An estate planning lawyer may be able to draft the original documents that comprise the estate plan. Additionally, he or she may recommend periodic updates to the estate plan to effectuate their wishes regarding the distribution of their estate.

Source: Forbes, "Why You Should Update Your Estate Plan", Russ Alan Prince, July 03, 2014

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