Routine Maintenance. We do it with our cars and hopefully we do it with our computers as well. But routine maintenance is one of those things that can get forgotten when we get get too busy.
An estate plan also needs routine maintenance but often people think it’s one and done once you create a plan. However, that is far from the truth. Estate plans need to be revisited every so often. The tax laws are always changing and only experienced attorneys like Jeffrey Weinstein and tax professionals will be able to say whether an estate plan is taking full advantage of the current tax laws.
Even knowing this, most people don’t make an annual appointment with their attorney. In fact, a lot of people never make any follow-up appointments. This is a big mistake. We can’t begin to count the number of clients we have had who were upset Uncle Sam got more than they would have liked when a loved one passed away, or, when the youngest grandchild was completely forgotten when their beloved grandparent passed away.
To avoid such situations, we recommend making an estate planning appointment each time someone in the family is born, dies, gets married, or gets divorced. This will ensure no loved ones are left out or inadvertently left in. It is also a good idea to update a plan when a child mentioned in the plan reaches adulthood because children and adults have such different needs.
If one of these big life events hasn’t occurred in the past five years, you should schedule an appointment for an estate planning tune-up anyway. We call it the five-year rule. Checking in on an estate plan every five years is necessary if you want to take full advantage of the ever-changing tax code.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that also applies to estate planning. If you can’t make it yearly you should most definitely make it in for a check-up at least every at least every five years. Call us at (212) 693-3737 to schedule your “check up.”