A lot of people in Michigan have prepared a plan for what they would like to see happen when they die. Maybe, with the help of an attorney, they have prepared a will or set up a trust. Maybe they have assigned beneficiaries for bank accounts or written a living will. Whatever it is, people usually have some sort of estate plan in place. While this estate planning is essential to make things easier on people’s loved ones, people should not just create their estate plan and forget about it.

Instead, people need to regularly think about their estate plans. These plans need to be updated, changed and revised in order to fit with a person’s current life situation and to make sure they comply with current laws. If estate plans are not frequently reviewed then they may not actually be effective in avoiding probate issues after a person has passed. In other words, people may think that their estates are protected but if they are not regularly reviewing their estate planning documents then the protection may have lapsed.

Some experts suggest that people review their estate planning documents at least once a year. This way, people can ensure that the documents still fit their wishes and comply with all legal requirements. In Michigan, in particular, people need to be aware of legal changes that can affect the efficiency of a person’s estate planning documents.

For example, the 2010 Michigan Trust Code revisions will change effectiveness of trusts set up before 2010. Therefore, people should review their trusts and make any necessary changes. The same situation occurs for all wills written before the 2000 Michigan Estates and Protective Individuals Code was enacted.

Michigan residents should make sure to review their estate planning documents and make sure they understand how the current laws affect their estate. By doing this people give their families the best chance at avoiding probate litigation in the future.

Source: The Times Herald, “Matthew Wallace: Do you need to update your estate plan?” Matthew Wallace, August 10, 2013