Many people in Illinois are under the assumption that once an estate plan is in place, there is no further action that needs to be taken. This isn’t true, especially for those in a high-asset situation. Estate plans must be kept current and should be updated regularly as assets or circumstances change. Updating one’s estate plan ensures that wishes are carried out and assets are distributed as desired.
When to update
One may wish to update one’s estate plan at regular intervals or when a new life event occurs. Many people choose to review their estate plan annually, semi-annually, or quarterly to see if new changes should be made. Life events like births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and illnesses can often mean that an estate plan will change.
Estate plans should also be updated when one’s financial circumstances change. An increase or decrease in assets, the addition of a life insurance plan, or the purchase of a large asset can lead to changes in the estate plan. One should also be sure to be aware of changes in state or federal laws that could affect taxes or investments and use that information accordingly when making changes to the estate plan.
Legal advice is important
When updating one’s estate plan, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney that understands Illinois estate planning laws. Regulations change often, which can mean that one must alter their estate plan. Other life and asset changes also often require an updated estate plan that includes the most current information. Regularly reviewing one’s estate plan with an attorney can provide peace of mind that one’s wishes will be honored after the estate owner’s death.