Galloway and Collens, PLLC

An estate plan may evolve and need revisiting over time

For many people, simply getting around to creating an estate plan is a major life feat in itself. It is a necessary part of life once one acquires any kind of assets or has a family. However, as much as people may feel like they've been responsible in creating an estate plan, it is essential for Michigan families to understand that an estate plan is not a one-shot milestone. An estate plan needs to be managed and evolve as the times dictate.

One reason to revisit an estate plan is the changes in the tax code. Tax exemption changes could greatly impact an estate plan as it stands. Simple modifications to amounts left in trusts can help minimize the impact any changing tax code laws may have on beneficiaries and the amount of money open to taxation in general.

Another reason an estate plan may need to be revisited relates to beneficiaries in general. What may seem like a good plan today may not work for a family in a few years. The status of beneficiaries can impact how assets may be divided or fought over. One example given relates to an adult child beneficiary dying before his or her parents. If a plan isn't updated, that adult child's children may not be eligible to receive a trust or assets intended for that child's parent.

Life gets complicated over time, and so do the relationships in any given Michigan family. In order to minimize strife and tax burdens, staying on top of any changes and having those changes reflected in an estate plan can be the best option. As for a timeline for adjustments or revisiting an estate plan, that decision can be dictated by time in general or as circumstances warrant, depending on the family.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Why Estate Planning Can't Be "Once and Done"", Eleanor Blayney, Jan. 8, 2015

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