Wondering Whether You Need to Update Your Estate Plan? Yes, You Do, and Here’s Why

Please allow us to be candid. It’s unrealistic to think that a piece of paper you draft, reflecting your life at a certain time, will work when your life has completely changed some years later. We’ll use the Campbell family as an example.

Meet the Campbells

Meet Robert and Terri Campbell. They got their first estate plan in place when their daughter, Jamie, was born 28 years ago. They updated it when their son Samuel came along 4 years later. About 10 years ago, they got a fantastic trust-based plan in place, protecting themselves, their children, their grandchildren, and their dog, Maddie.

Unfortunately,  life got busy and, as you might guess, the Campbells put their documents in their safe and never scheduled a review or update of their documents.

Here’s what’s changed in their lives in the last 10 years.

  • Jamie and Samuel are now adults and have graduated from college.
  • Jamie is married and has two daughters. One of the girls may have autism.
  • Samuel is also married, and he and his wife are expecting their first child.
  • Terri’s mother is now living with Robert and Terri.
  • Robert and Terri bought a vacation home in Florida.
  • Maddie had a litter of puppies but has since passed away.  Robert and Terri kept two of the puppies.

Do you think their estate plan will still work the way they want it to?

Changes in Your Own Life

The Campbells have experienced a lot of changes, but those changes are typical of what 10 years brings. Think about the changes in your life over the past 10 years — or since you last updated your estate plan.

Have you moved? Do you have more children or grandchildren? Have you started a business, suffered health problems, or purchased a new home? Do you have new accounts and investments? Do you now care for a parent, pets, or dependent children? Have you remarried, gotten divorced, or retired? Has someone you loved died? Have friends or family named in your plan as trusted helpers moved away, or has your relationship changed? Are your children now adults and able to help you? Do you want to help with grandchildren’s college or dance lessons? Do you see the world in a different way?

Many things have happened in the past 10 years. Your estate plan needs to reflect the changes in your personal life, financial situation, and goals. There have also been changes in the law. We stay abreast of these changes to protect our clients in better and better ways, so the way we do things has changed.

Is Your Estate Plan Out of Date?

If you’ve experienced changes like the Campbells, or it’s been more than 3 to 5 years since you updated your estate plan, it’s time to come in. We’ll review your plan and chat with you about what’s been happening in your life. We can get you and your estate plan up to date, reflecting where your life is now.

The information above is general in nature and is not legal advice specific to your situation. If you have questions about your business, estate plan, or protecting your business or personal assets, you should speak with an attorney in your area for legal advice. If you live or do business in California and would like to speak with The Law Office of Tawnya Gilreath regarding your situation, please schedule an appointment.