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Reasons to make estate plan updates

Taking the initiative to actually make an estate plan is a good first step for anyone in Florida with assets and property they wish to pass along to loved ones. However, an estate plan isn't something that's meant to be done once and forgotten about. Circumstances that may include tax law updates can change over time. There are also personal life adjustments that can be reason enough to revisit an estate plan and make appropriate updates to one or more existing documents.

Laws pertaining to estates and wills vary from state to state. Therefore, the first reason someone may want to make an update is because of a recent relocation from one state to another. Related documents such as powers of attorney, advance medical directives and living wills also need to be reviewed to ensure that they're still valid in a different state. Also, individuals moving from a state with inheritance or estate taxes to one without such taxes may need to provide proof of a residence change, especially if substantial assets are involved.

It's also advised that individuals update their estates if there are changes with family dynamics, such as marriages, remarriages, divorces or new family members born, that could affect inheritance decisions. A significant change in the value of an estate in either direction is another good reason to make an update. Additionally, it's advisable for individuals to consider adjustments if beneficiary designations on IRAs, 401(k)s, and other retirement plans are outdated or if listed executors and trustees may no longer be appropriate.

An attorney familiar with estate plans and wills may provide assistance with initial preparation efforts and updates in a way that ensures compliance with state laws. A lawyer might also perform a routine review of existing documents to determine if there is a need to make certain adjustments concerning personal or business assets. Maintaining updated estate plans may reduce the potential for inter-family disagreements or legal issues, such as challenges to certain stipulations regarding asset distributions or beneficiary designations when it comes time for an estate plan to be executed.

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