Most people understand that it is important to have an estate plan in place from a young age. In fact, most financial planners recommend that every newly minted adult creates a basic estate plan. At the very least, it is crucial to have an estate plan in place once you start a family of your own.
But did you know that you should also be updating your Houston estate plan periodically?
The reason to review and modify your estate plan regularly is simple: Families and life circumstances do not stay static, so neither should your estate plan. Given this fact of life, the general rule of thumb is to update your estate plan every three to five years. Another method to determine the right time for an update is to review your plan at times of major life changes, such as the birth of a child or grandchild, or a divorce.
Updating your estate plan regularly can help protect your hard-earned wealth for generations to come. Failing to do so could have dramatically unfortunate consequences, such as your wealth inadvertently transferring to an ex-spouse upon your death.
To determine whether your estate plan needs updating, you can ask yourself the following basic questions. Has there been a birth of a child or grandchild since I last updated my estate plan? Has there been a divorce that could affect my plan? Are my successor trustees current?
By asking yourself these simple questions, you can help ensure that you are updating your estate plan at the optimal time to preserve wealth transfer to the next generation of your family.
Updating your estate plan also provides an excellent opportunity to discuss your plans with family. Whereas many families create estate plans separately, ideally, all living generations will coordinate to ensure optimal wealth transfer.
For example, rather than planning monetary gifts and other types of financial support independently, grandparents and their children can coordinate to maximize their support of their family’s newest additions. Instead of gifting a newborn a simple check or college savings account—which can go to waste if the child receives a scholarship or decides not to go to college—parents and grandparents can work with a trusts and estates law firm to figure out the best use of their assets.
Trusts and estates firms are adept at helping families coordinate estate plans without uncomfortable discussions about money. As a third party observing each generation’s particular financial circumstances, trusts and estates lawyers can often advise on the best methods and instruments to protect wealth without revealing any particular family member’s circumstances.
For this reason, it is an excellent idea to choose a firm together with your family that you will use continuously.
Consult a Houston Trusts and Estates Lawyer
Whether you have not yet started the estate planning process, you have a complete plan in place that you know needs updating, or it has been decades since you last reviewed your estate plan, the law firm of McCulloch & Miller, PLLC is ready to help. Our Houston trusts and estates team has decades of combined experience in estate planning. Whether your assets are modest or expansive, we can help you achieve peace of mind that your wealth will be securely transferred to the next generation. To schedule a consultation with a McCulloch & Miller attorney, call 713-333-8900 today.