For many, estate planning is a one-and-done deal. They hire a lawyer, or worse, do it themselves, and set the documents aside thinking they have done their due diligence. The problem with that? Estate planning documents are living documents – meaning they must change and evolve with you and the laws.
Just as recently as last month, legislation was signed into law that changed how people should plan their estate. The SECURE Act changed how people have been using retirement accounts for their beneficiaries for years.
With few exceptions, you can no longer pass your IRA or other qualified retirement accounts to your children and assume that they can stretch out the tax benefits over the course of their life because the SECURE Act requires complete disbursement of retirement funds within about ten years from the date of inheritance. Depending on your goal when you planned, and your beneficiary’s financial position, this can greatly reduce an intended inheritance.
This new Act just reinforces the need for estate plan reviews and regular updates. In addition to changing laws, there are life changes that might affect your estate planning requiring updates, such as the birth of a child, divorce, and death.
For parents of young children, there is a necessity to keep guardianship nominations up to date so that minor children are not left with aging grandparents or distant friends that cannot take care of the children the way they would want.
While it is important to keep wills and trusts up to date, it is just as important to keep named medical and financial power of attorneys up to date and your wishes for medical treatment.