Many parents take proactive steps to create an estate plan. While the benefits of early planning are numerous, the documents, over time, may become outdated based on significant life changes. While still valid and enforceable, they may not reflect current times and family dynamics.
Revisiting and revising
The financial and emotional costs of outdated wills and trusts can be significant. In many cases, the documents may not reflect the original “roadmap” that parents drew up, potentially compromising the execution of the plan.
- Reviewing the estate plan sooner rather than later helps to keep the paperwork “fresh.” The reasons are numerous and include the following:
- So-called “stale” documents are the bane of financial institutions. A bank may require an affidavit by the attorney who drew up the plan before releasing funds, further slowing an already slow process.
- State laws, including those in Pennsylvania, are always in flux whether the regulations help or harm an estate plan created decades ago.
- Legal language is also ever-changing, with the verbiage reflecting the time the estate plan was created. Newly passed legislation should be accounted for when pursuing revisions.
Revised estate laws are perhaps the best reason to revisit an old estate plan to avoid paying out more taxes than necessary.
Estate planning is challenging, both legally and emotionally. However, revising estate plans based on evolving laws is paramount. Things change. Life changes. Vital documents that reflect the wishes of a loved one have value beyond monetary.
Help from an experienced estate planning attorney with contemporary knowledge of the law can be valuable for families starting new chapters following the loss of a loved one.