It’s the New Year! And like every new year, we have our resolutions. We’ll lose that 5 pounds and we’ll start going to the gym regularly (when they finally re-open). Maybe we can cut back on sweets? Eat a healthier diet? All the usual suspects. But what about the other areas of your life? Don’t you need resolutions there too?
You can’t wait until after the accident to get automobile insurance. And you need your health insurance kept up to date in case you have a health emergency. But you also need a financial health resolution to go along with that new diet.
Every year I file Probates for people who waited too long to get an estate plan with a Living Trust prepared. I also go to court every year for families even with Living Trusts. And the reasons vary, but it all comes down to neglect. In one sad case a man tried to revise his Trust by writing his changes on a post-it note, but the court was not able to accept that as a Trust amendment and so his final wishes could not be given because he waited too long.
I see Trusts that no longer have a living Trustee to handle the distribution. People come to me with Trusts where the original documents can’t even be located, and we don’t really know what Mom & Dad wanted for a final distribution. So, we end up distributing the Trust as if there wasn’t even a Will and are forced to apply the statutory intestate rules.
The most common mistake is failing to add new assets into the Trust. Did Mom or Dad move into a new house? Or open a new bank account? Have you done any or all of the above?
An estate plan works best the same way your car runs best, with regular maintenance. If you never change the oil or get a tune-up your car will break down on you and leave you stranded by the side of the road. An estate plan that isn’t reviewed regularly will do the same thing (metaphorically speaking).
Your estate plan should be reviewed every three years. The good news is that at Feldman Law Group, we do not charge for these reviews. We want you to continue to be assured that your Trust will work the way you planned and intended should a need arise.