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Protecting Your Legacy
For more than 35 years, individuals, families and businesses in Florida have relied on our law firm for help. You can too, call today for a free initial consultation.

The importance of reviewing and updating estate plans

Both tax laws and family circumstances often change after Florida residents have drafted their estate plans. While some people simply create their plans and then never review them, this can create unintended problems. It is important for people to review their existing documents and make changes as needed on a regular basis.

In some cases, a named beneficiary may have passed away. If that occurs, assets intended for the deceased beneficiary would in most cases be distributed according to the state's intestacy laws. If an executor has died, the court may choose a different person to serve in the capacity, and it may be a person that the decedent either didn't know or trust. People should make certain to name contingent executors and beneficiaries to prevent this problem.

Other problems that may happen is failing to update beneficiaries in wills, trusts, retirement accounts and life insurance policies when a person's family circumstances change. For example, people will need to review their beneficiaries whenever their family increases in size, when they get divorced or when there is a change in who has guardianship of children. Other circumstances that will necessitate a review of the estate plan include substantial changes in finances, selling an asset that is listed in a will or moves to other states.

Estate planning should be an ongoing process to make certain that the documents are up-to-date and provide the best tax advantages. In addition to documents such as wills, trusts, life insurance and retirement accounts, people may also want to include a power of attorney and a living will in case they become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. An estate planning attorney can often be helpful in conducting a periodic review of existing documents and suggesting updates when and as warranted.

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