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Estate planning: how often are updates needed?

For the average American, estate planning is not necessarily a top priority. After saving for college funds, retirement and day-to-day expenses, estate planning may not seem to be a pressing need until later in life. However, for Florida residents who are wealthy or "super wealthy," not only is it necessary to make estate planning a priority, it is necessary to keep these plans updated. In fact, anyone who has an estate plan should keep it updated, no matter his or her income level.

One of the main reasons that updates are needed is because life never stays the same. Marriages, divorces, new businesses and other factors can all have an effect on an estate plan. When an estate plan is not updated as these major events take place, it can lead to a serious legal dispute among heirs and beneficiaries.

When a major life event takes place, it can be beneficial for Florida residents to review all estate plans. This can include the formation or purchase of a new business to a birth or divorce. If no major events have occurred, it is recommended that all estate plans be reviewed every few years for security and tax reasons.

Estate planning can be complex, and this process may sometimes get avoided because it seems too costly or complicated. However, there is no price tag that can be placed on the peace of mind that comes with clear and updated estate plans. It can also prevent any future legal battles that could potentially ensue. This is a measure of financial and emotional security for all socio-economic classes, as well as any heirs and beneficiaries.

Source: Forbes, "Why You Should Update Your Estate Plan", Russ Alan Prince, July 3, 2014

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