Completing an estate plan can feel like a big accomplishment. For many people, it is not the most pleasant of tasks, and it can be tempting to put it away and consider it done. However, there are a number of reasons that Massachusetts residents need to review their estate plan regularly.
Assets, family relationships and laws that might affect a person’s estate planning strategy all change over time. For this reason, it is a good idea to make a regular practice of reviewing the plan every few years. However, there are also specific incidents that should trigger a review.
Within your family, big events such as births, deaths, marriages and divorces may mean it’s time to review the plan. Your relationship with family members might also change even without these types of events. You might grow closer to or away from the some loved ones, so you may need to change your executor, beneficiaries, the guardian you have appointed for your children or the people you have named on your powers of attorney to manage your medical or financial affairs if you are unable to do so.
Changes in law
For some people, there may be changes in tax laws that necessitate a review and change of the plan. You may no longer need the strategies that you have employed, or you may need a new plan.
If you move to or away from Massachusetts, you need to find out whether there are changes that need to be made to the plan based on different state laws. In addition, if you begin spending a substantial amount of your time elsewhere, you should make sure that you still meet state residency requirements for the purposes of your estate plan.
You may also want to discuss the specifics of your estate plan with family members so that they better understand your goals and reasons. At minimum, you should make sure that everyone who has a role in the plan is willing to take on those responsibilities.