I Have an Estate Plan: Do I Still Need My Attorney?

Compliments of Our Law Firm,
By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys

Your estate plan is prepared. Your Living Trust is in place and properly funded, you have a Pour-Over Will just in case, and your incapacity plan is ready and waiting in the event you need it. Is it time to part ways with your attorney?

Not at all! In fact, your relationship with your estate planning attorney has just started, and here's why:

Your Estate Plan Should Be Reviewed and Updated Regularly

Peoples' lives change, and their estate plans should be adjusted accordingly. Every two to four years, you should sit down with your attorney and look over your existing plan in light of your family's current circumstances.

  • Has anyone been born, gotten married or divorced, or died?
  • Has your family's financial status undergone a significant change?
  • Have any of your fiduciaries – your Executor, Trustee, guardian – moved away, passed away, become disabled, or otherwise undergone a status change that necessitates the appointment of a replacement?
  • Do you want to change any bequests or add or remove any Beneficiaries?
  • Do you need to change the Beneficiary designations of any insurance policies or financial accounts?

Your attorney can help you address these and other important considerations, in addition to advising you on how changes in the law may affect your estate plan. Your attorney may recommend changes in your estate plan that address these law changes or take advantage of new legal strategies.

You Might Not Be Your Own Trustee For Life

You might serve as Trustee of your Living Trust until your death, but that is not guaranteed. What will happen if you become physically or mentally incapacitated – or if you simply reach a point where you're ready to hand over the reins to your Successor Trustee?

In either of these situations, your estate planning attorney can prepare the appropriate documents, guide your Successor Trustee, and assist with the transition so that the management of your Trust remains uninterrupted.

Your Successor Trustee Will Need Help

One of the reasons for creating a Living Trust is to make the administration of your estate after you pass away easier, less expensive, and faster with a Trust than it would have been without one. However, this does not mean that your Successor Trustee's job will be easy and hassle-free. There will be assets to inventory, Beneficiaries to deal with, and financial issues to worry about. Your estate planning attorney is already familiar with the requirements imposed by state law. He or she can guide your Successor Trustee in administering your Trust and ensuring that your estate is settled as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Your estate planning attorney can help ensure your plan keeps pace with your evolving needs and can serve as a trusted guide as you and your loved ones face new challenges.

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