Surveys consistently reveal that the majority of American adults do not have all the necessary estate planning documents in place. One of the reasons for this is the simple fact that dying is generally going to be the last thing on your to-do list. A lot of people feel as though they will always have time to create an estate plan at some point in the future.
However, we are all “day to day” as they say on ESPN. In many cases this procrastination yields negative consequences. Neglecting to create an estate plan is a great disservice to your loved ones who will survive you. Upon discussion with an estate planning attorney, you may choose to create a revocable living trust. These plans are very popular because they enable asset transfers outside of the process of probate. Probate can be time-consuming, and heirs to the estate don’t receive their inheritances until the estate has been probated and closed. There are also considerable costs that can accumulate during probate.
Because procrastination is so common when it comes to estate planning, you may place your trust documents in a drawer or a filing cabinet and forget about them after you have gone through the process of creating them. Over the years, your life changes. There are additions and subtractions to the family, your financial situation improves, and you may have experienced changes in marital status. All of these life events could render your existing trust obsolete. In addition to your personal life, ever-changing tax laws can create the need to review and possibly make changes to your trust.
Estate planning should be viewed as an ongoing process. You should have your trust reviewed by an estate planning attorney about every five years even if you don’t think anything should be changed. If you know your trust needs to be updated you should certainly take action sooner rather than later to ensure the well-being of your loved ones.
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555