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Properly Updating a Plan Following Major Life Events

Posted by Thompson Von Tungeln | May 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

All too often, people think that estate planning is a “one and done” type of process, where once you have your Living Trust or Will in place, you are set and nothing else is needed.  First, if you have a Living Trust, there's a few steps that are needed following executing your Living Trust document, including the retitling of your assets into the name of your trust so that the trust now owns them.  This is something that we do for our clients' residence and we provide instructions on transferring other assets, such as bank accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets so that the Living Trust is appropriately funded with your assets.

Additionally, it is important to regularly have your estate plan reviewed.  We recommend that you revisit your plan every 3 years, because this is the timeframe that we find that people have some changes in terms of their assets, family relationships, deaths/births, etc.  This review process is how we are also able to double-check that everything was properly retitled and put into the name of your Trust.  We also review if there has been any major changes in law that might affect your estate plan. This way, we can ensure that your estate plan is still the right plan for you and your loved ones.

Another perhaps not-so-obvious time that we recommend that you review your estate plan is upon major life events such as marriage, birth of children/grandchildren, moving residences (particularly out-of-state) and the passing of loved ones.  It is through these major life events that your estate plan may require updates to ensure that your plan is properly preserved, managed and distributed when the time comes.

We recently had a case where a client had remarried and one spouse had property in another state and they never updated their estate plan, so now the out of state property was never properly added to their estate plan.  Although we are able to file an expedited petition for California assets left outside of a trust to be added back into a trust, some other states may not allow for a similar proceeding.  This client is now going through the lengthy, expensive and stressful process of a probate, while the family grieves the loss of a loved one.  This could have been easily avoided with proper maintenance and upkeep on their estate plan.  Just add it your life event checklists!

If you have had major life events since you've set up your estate plan, we recommend that you schedule a meeting with an attorney to review your trust.  Attend one of our upcoming seminars for more information and a refresher or contact our office at 661-945-5868.

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