Keeping Your Plan Up to Date and Private

We are talking about your estate plan. The details of how personal property gets handled, how funds are disbursed, and how much you give to your beneficiaries, are completely up to you as Trustor (Creator, Settlor, Grantor) of your trust. You can change your mind several times throughout your life, as long as you have capacity, and you make proper amendments or restatements as guided by your attorney.

When I got my plan written the first time, my children were too young to care for themselves. I updated the documents again when the youngest turned 18. I have kept my attorney updated as I purchased, and then sold, my home. When I remarried, we updated our documents together. Here is a short list of some of the events which should trigger an update:

Births, Deaths, Divorces, Marriages, Major Purchases, Major Sales, Retirement, Moving to another State

I also suggest reaching out to your attorney from time to time as Trusts and Estates Law changes now and again. If you are between 40 and 70 and in good health, consider reaching out to your attorney every five years, whether or not any triggering events have occurred. Keeping a good relationship is very helpful. When you are over 70, perhaps reaching out every three years, makes sense.

Throughout all of my estate plan updates, my children were made aware that I have a plan so they won’t be burdened, and that I keep it up to date. They know that funds will be held in trust. They don’t know how much, and of course, none of us know when. I want my children to thrive as best they can, with a little help and love from me during my lifetime. If I ended up spending their inheritance on my health care, they will not be disappointed with how much, or how little, they receive.

I hope every beneficiary understands that “if” they inherit, it is a gift. Expecting to inherit, being entitled, or waiting to live until such inheritance comes through are just a waste of good living.

It’s your money and you get to decide what happens to it while you live, and after you have died (if you have a written plan).

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