As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many clients have contacted my firm recently regarding potential updates to their estate planning documents. It’s a scary time and, understandably, people want to make sure their documents are current. If you have an existing estate plan, it’s a good idea to review your documents to ensure all is in order. In particular:
- Has your marital status changed since your attorney last updated your estate planning documents? If your spouse has passed away, if you are now divorced, or now married, or if you have filed a pending petition for dissolution or separation – you should contact your attorney to determine if your estate planning documents should be updated in light of these changes.
- Has your asset level changed significantly since your attorney last updated your estate planning documents? If so, it may impact planning to reduce Washington and/or federal estate tax liabilities. It’s a good idea for you to contact your lawyer, discuss the change in your financial circumstances, and see if updates are needed.
- Has someone who was named as a beneficiary or a fiduciary in your estate plan passed away? If so, an update may well be needed.
- Have you had a child since your estate plan was created? If so, again, likely updates will be needed to make sure your new child will be taken care of pursuant to your wishes.
- Have you purchased real property in a state other than Washington since you last revised your estate plan? If so, that acquisition may impact the administration of your estate. You should contact your attorney to discuss this issue, and see if adjustments to your current estate plan might be a good idea in order to decrease the burden and costs involved in administering your estate.
- Have you moved out of state since your estate planning documents were created? The laws vary, sometimes dramatically, from state to state. If you have moved, you should retain an attorney who is licensed in your new state of residence in order to review and potentially update your estate planning documents.
- Would you like to change the named fiduciaries in your estate planning documents? What about the beneficiaries, and the amounts of the distributions?
- Are your estate planning documents quite dated? State laws change from time to time, and your documents may need to be updated to accommodate these changes.
If you need assistance in reviewing and updating your existing estate plan, we would be happy to help.
This post is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting with an attorney.