Your estate planning needs may change over time for many reasons. Most often you will need to update your estate planning documents after experiencing a major life event such as the death of a loved one, the birth or adoption of a child, a divorce, a new marriage, or a move to a new state. But even if you haven’t been through a major life event, it may still be important to have your estate planning documents regularly reviewed by an attorney. A good rule of thumb would be to visit with your estate planning attorney every five to seven years to make sure the estate planning documents you have in place still reflect your wishes and are not affected by any statutory changes.
As estate and elder planning attorneys at Finley Law LLC, it is our opinion that the most important documents to update over time may be your advanced directives. Advance directives typically include a Durable Power of Attorney, a Health Care Surrogate, a Pre-need Guardian designation and a Living Will. The person you may have appointed years ago to act as your agent under these documents may not be the most appropriate person today. They may not be available; they may have fallen out of touch with you; or they many no longer be willing to serve in such capacity. Most of our clients at Finley Law LLC, desire the dignity of aging without the court’s involvement in their lives. That is why we make reviewing our client’s advance directives a priority.
Having an estate planning attorney review your Last Will & Testament and Revocable Living Trust is important as well. Case in point, just this morning I reviewed a Last Will & Testament and Simple Revocable Trust for a client who mentioned that the current love of her life has four legs and a tail. In reviewing her Last Will & Testament and Revocable Living Trust, I noticed that there were no provisions made for her pet. We also realized that her successor Trustee and nominated personal representative was a friend who was sadly, no longer a friend. As such, we discussed appropriate changes and decided to amend her Trust and Will to reflect a change in her appointed successor Trustee and Personal Representative and to add provisions for her pet.
Reviewing your estate documents every few years is an integral part of protecting your legacy and your long-term goals. If you are in need of updating your will, trust, or other estate documents, our experienced estate planning attorneys can help. Contact Finley Law at 386-734-5959 to schedule your initial consultation and discuss your options. Our office is located in DeLand, Florida, and we serve all of Volusia County.