Don’t Discount the Importance of Keeping Your Estate Plan Up-To-Date

There is a sense of accomplishment when an estate plan is executed. In fact, it’s quite common for people to sign documents and file them away for safe keeping and forget about them. The danger is that these individuals and families may believe that these matters require no further attention. Research with the wealthy – including the super-rich (net worth = $500 million or more), finds that most of their estate plans were at least five years old.

“An estate plan is not a time capsule to be opened and dissected at some distant point in the future,” according recent Forbes article. The article, titled “Why You Should Update Your Estate Plan,” explains that many ultra-wealthy individuals have a valid estate plan in place, but have not reviewed and updated their plans after they first signed them. In some instances, an outdated or insufficient estate plan has caused disputes between heirs. Unfortunately, many of these situations are even more tragic because they are usually avoidable, especially when professionals can facilitate difficult conversations.

The original article notes that family members will often shy away from the estate planning process because it typically means some tough discussions. However, the article reminds us that this can be a wonderful opportunity for your estate planning or elder law attorney to educate family members on the benefits and risks of planning while helping to bridge family divides. In fact, the “key is to evaluate the impact on the estate or wealth transfer plan of all major decisions and life events as elements of a broader generational family wealth strategy.” As a result, this can simplify an ongoing process and reduce the possibility of damaging legal disputes on the disposition of family assets in the future.

The easiest way to decide when to review your estate plan is: (i) when there is a meaningful change in your life; or (ii) every few years just to make sure you are up-to-date with the changing tax laws. Contact your estate planning or elder law attorney to make sure your estate plan is current and your wishes will be carried out when the time comes.

Reference: Forbes (July 3, 2014) “Why You Should Update Your Estate Plan

Suggested Key Words: elder law, estate planning, attorney, tax laws

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“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

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I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

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Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce