Is Your Estate Plan Out of Date?

Is Your Estate Plan Out of Date?

  • May 30 2017

Q: If I already have a Last Will and Testament, why would I need to change it?

So many adults know– or suspect– that they need to see an estate planning lawyer. But for many, various excuses get in the way of setting the dreaded appointment. Sometimes it’s the assumption that you need to be wealthy to have an estate plan, or that everything will go to the people you want even if you don’t have one.

These assumptions are inaccurate and dangerous, especially if you have minor children– because only a Last Will can establish who you appoint to be the legal guardians of your minor children after your death. And those avoiding estate planning because facing your own mortality is scary should know that virtually everyone feels better after finally putting their affairs in order and safeguarding the future of their families and loved ones.

Even if you have an estate plan, particularly if it was established long ago, having it reviewed may be a good idea. Laws change, and families and relationships change as well. Factors including a subsequent marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of children (including special needs children), starting a business and more can all impact an existing estate plan.

Speaking of changing laws, there is speculation that estate tax reform could be coming given the current political climate, so seeing an estate planning attorney now could be beneficial.

While many people may only need an estate plan with a Last Will and Testament, and/or a Trust– along with complementary planning documents like powers of attorney, healthcare proxies, and living wills–other people could benefit from those items as well as additional estate planning tools.

While some estate planning tools are very sophisticated and designed for large-scale wealth shifting and sheltering in substantial estates, other tools also relevant to estate planning for those with more modest means, including but not limited to

  • annual exclusion gifts to loved ones of up to $14,000 per recipient
  • 529 Plan contributions
  • gifts paid directly to a medical facility or educational institution for a family member’s benefit.

A skilled estate planning attorney can advise you with respect to these tools and a myriad of trust and other planning options that may be beneficial in your particular case.

If you need to get your affairs in order, or already have an estate plan that you would like to have reviewed or changed, the Tennessee estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Chadwick & Tignor can help. Call us at 615-3797 900 to schedule a consultation. From our offices in Spring Hill and Mt. Juliet, we represent clients throughout the Williamson County and the Middle Tennessee area.

Posted in: Estate Planning