Reasons Why An Estate Plan Over Three Years Old May Not Work

Estate planning facts suggest that an estate plan more than 3-years since the last update may be critically flawed.

Do you currently have a Florida estate plan? Estate planning facts suggest a review and update within 3 years.  When was it created? When was the last time it was updated? What planning tools are included within it? And, perhaps even more importantly, does your Florida estate plan reflect your current needs, values, family, and the legacy you want to leave at the time of your passing?

In our experience, most of the clients we work with understand the importance of creating a Florida estate plan. They know that they need to proactively decide what should happen in a time of sudden crisis or death and do not want to leave their wishes either to chance or the state-mandated process.  With that said, however, not all pay attention to the upkeep a comprehensive Florida estate plan requires. Your Florida estate plan is a vital part of not only your estate but your overall health and well-being. As such, it should not be left unattended and, instead, requires a review at least every three years, if not every year, to make sure it will still work the way you need it to.

Perhaps the most important part of developing your Florida estate plan is the peace of mind a completed plan can provide you. Through the creation of your Florida estate plan, you are ensuring that you, and what you love most, is protected against uncertainty, potential harm, and confusion. Let us share just a few complications estate planning facts suggest often occur in both older and unmaintained Florida estate plans.

  1. The laws have changed. Laws change over time and even the best drafted Florida estate plans may need to be updated from time to time. It is important to meet with your Florida estate planning attorney to review your Florida estate plan periodically to make sure laws governing your plan are still in place. Further, in your meeting with your attorney, you may learn if there are new laws that should be incorporated into your planning as well.
  2. The family structure is no longer the same. We often find that the family structure that our clients originally came to us with to create their Florida estate plan changes over time. Births, deaths, and divorces are just the start of the family structure changes that can impact your estate plan. You need to develop a relationship with your Florida estate planning attorney to make sure that your attorney knows when there are changes in your family that can impact who inherits from you at the time of your passing, and how.
  3. The decision makers have changed. Like the changes to your family structure, the person or persons you want to make your decisions for you in the event of your incapacity or death may evolve over time as well. You need to let your Florida estate planning attorney know if one of your decision makers no longer wishes to act on your behalf or cannot act due to his or her own personal needs or death. You do not want to be in a position at a time when you are most vulnerable that you do not have a decision maker in place to manage either your health or your finances.
  4. The goals for your legacy are evolving. As you know, things change over time, and this may hold true for your legacy. What you wanted last year may no longer be the case today, but without updating your Florida estate plan this fact will remain unknown. By developing a strong relationship with your Florida estate planning attorney and keeping your attorney in the know at all times related to goals for your legacy, you can ensure that you are crafting a Florida estate plan that reflects what you want both now and as the future unfolds.

We know these estate planning facts may raise more questions than it answers. Our estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our offices in Stuart and in Palm City to learn more.

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