Chipman, Mazzucco, Land & Pennarola, LLC

Estate planning needs can change over time

The emotional impact of estate planning can be difficult for many people in Connecticut; because it can deal with sometimes-complex family relationships as well as the fraught topic of death, many people do not want to revisit will planning too quickly. This means that once complete, many wills, trusts and other important estate documents are often filed away for years on end without change or review because people know that they have taken action to protect their assets and their family. However, ongoing legal changes, as well as life developments, can make it a priority to review one's estate plan.

When estate planning documents spend many years without review, intervening changes can make them outdated. For many people, life events can change how they want their assets to be distributed, while in other cases, changes to tax law could significantly benefit the estate and its beneficiaries. A review every 10 years or after major events can help to ensure that the estate plan is current.

A review of one's estate plan could be prompted by the birth of new children or grandchildren who were not already included in the distribution of assets. Removing or adding beneficiaries is one of the most common reasons that prompts people to review and update their estate documents. In addition, the inclusion of additional minors in an estate plan can lead to the need to create new trusts to handle those bequests.

When tax law changes, especially in terms of the estate tax exemption, there can be important opportunities to benefit the estate by reviewing the documents involved. Working together with an estate planning attorney might help people to verify that their documents are accurate and reflect the current law as well as their personal desires. A lawyer's review of wills, trusts and related documents may be able to protect the value of the estate, as well as the client's intentions for its distribution.

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