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Spring Cleaning for Estate Planning

Andrea Shoup

It feels like we just celebrated the New Year, yet here we are on the cusp of springtime!  Like many people, you might be ready to do some spring cleaning, but have you thought about ‘dusting off’ your trust documents?  This is the perfect time to make sure they are up to date and still meet your estate planning needs.

Importance of Reviewing Your Trust

It’s tempting to just put your trust in a drawer and forget about it.  But you have to remember that for a trust to be effective, all of the contents have to be current.   Otherwise, your original intentions might not be fulfilled.  Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for a trust review.

How Often Should You Review Your Trust?

I get asked this question often, and recommend that an annual review is one good rule to follow.  Equally important are the changes in your family, goals, and assets that can affect your trust.

Are There Life Events That Should Trigger a Trust Review?

There are several life events that should spur a trust review, and if any of these apply to you it is certainly time to think about changes to the trust.

Marriage or divorce can affect a trust significantly as there could be an addition, or change, in beneficiaries.  Death of a trustee or beneficiary is also an event that requires a review, and it can be easy to overlook amending the trust.

There can also be changes in beneficiary circumstances that may change your allocations. One example of this is if your beneficiary has special needs that need to be protected.  Or, you might decide to add new beneficiaries, such as your favorite charity.

Every state treats estate planning with distinct rules that can affect your trust.  If you are moving to a new state, you should be sure to check if any of the laws governing trusts are different, or even require a new document.  

Does Your Trust Have Outdated Information?

A trust with outdated information can lead to problems with distribution of property.  Maybe you have new beneficiaries through birth or marriage, or there might be changes in property valuation or title that affects your asset allocations.  

Also, it’s not uncommon for a trustee to be unable to fill their role as originally intended. When this happens, you need to be sure that you update your estate plan with the new person you trust to be responsible. These are just a few examples of how outdated information can interfere with the original intentions of your trust.

If you don’t have an estate plan already, now is the perfect time to get started. At Shoup Legal, we help families plan today for peace of mind tomorrow. Call us at (951) 445-4114 to get started.

Written by Andrea Shoup

Shoup Legal, A Professional Law Corporation can be reached at (951) 445-4114.

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