Cynthia Crofoot Rignanese, Esquire
Thinking Globally, Practicing Locally in Central Florida Since 1990

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Estate Plans Should Reflect Where You Are Now

You may have heard startling statistics about the number of people who have put off planning their estates. However, just as high may be the number of people who make the effort to establish an estate plan, then allow decades to pass without reviewing those decisions.

After only a few years, it is possible that major changes have occurred in your life. Marriages begin and end, children are born and loved ones die. Even if none of these things has happened in your life, the world around you has changed. Tax laws reflect the political climate, and financial markets ebb and flow. One important thing that may be different now from when you made your plan is your view of your assets and your future.

When should you reassess your estate plan?

Advisors recommend a review of your plan about every five years unless you experience a major life change. Some events require alterations in your plan as soon as possible:

If you have or adopt children or grandchildren

If your children or grandchildren get married or divorced

If your designated beneficiaries, executors or other agents become incapacitated, die or change their mind about their role in your estate plan

If you acquire property or a business

If you move out of state

If you have gained an inheritance

If you get married or divorced

In some states, including Florida, your will is automatically affected by a divorce, so be sure to discuss this with your attorney to prevent needless complications. On the other hand, if you got married, you wouldn't want your new spouse to be excluded if your existing estate plan directs your assets in a different direction.

The next step in your estate plan

Although each person's estate plan has unique and personal goals, you made your plan to achieve three main purposes:

Protecting your assets

Providing for your loved ones

Designating your medical and financial care if you become debilitated

After years have gone by, your estate plan may no longer accomplish those goals exactly according to your wishes. Family dynamics change quickly, and even a change in business relationships may require an adjustment to your will or trust. A careful review of your documents will reveal any deficiencies.

Your attorney will also be able to inform you of any estate planning tools you haven't taken advantage of to maximize the transfer of your wealth and minimize any tax burdens. Having an attorney who is also a CPA will save you time and money in this area. Your attorney will be able to address your estate planning needs as well as assess your tax risk and advise you on how best to meet your financial goals.

Rignanese & Associates is available to work with clients on their legal needs. Please reach out to us at 863.294.1114.

1. On behalf of Kelly Kennedy of J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC posted in Estate Planning on Monday, December 5, 2016. Tags: estate, estate planning

Cynthia Rignanese