Justin, my wife and I set up our estate plan when our kids were little to make sure they were taken care of in case something happened to us. Our kids now have kids, so it’s been a while since we did our plan. Do we need to re-do everything now? – Arthur
Arthur, this is a great question to ask. Oftentimes, people first realize they need an estate plan when they have kids. Then they put those documents in a safe place and never think about them again. The good news is that those documents are still valid. They don’t become void after a certain number of years. However, you may still need to make some changes.
Your original documents, even though valid, may no longer meet your needs. The people you’ve named to wrap up your affairs or receive your property may no longer be appropriate. People pass away, babies are born, and people move away and grow apart. Also, there may be people now who you’d prefer to act for you who weren’t good choices before. When your children were young they were not good candidates, but now that they’re grown with families of their own, they may be excellent choices to wrap up your affairs.
Also, your main goals may have changed. At the time you set up your plan you may have only done a will, because your only concern was naming a guardian for your kids. Now your main goal may be to avoid probate court, and a trust may be a better option. You may now be concerned with protecting your assets from the cost of long-term care, and an asset shelter trust might be better for you.