Why Should I Review My Living Trust?
A Living Document
The most important thing to remember about your trust, is that it is a “living” document. A living trust is something that can adapt and grow.\
You probably felt relief and confidence that all was in place for your loved ones when you finally completed your estate plan. However, time marches on. Just as your life changes, your trust needs to change to fit your new circumstances. The little ones who sat on your lap when you set up your original trust may be grown and gone. Possibly your assets have multiplied or increased in value. The people you listed as executors or trustees may no longer be able to aid you, or family dynamics may be in flux.
You may not realize that most older living trust documents fail to include incapacity planning or government benefit provisions for trustees, such as Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Estate planning laws regularly change requiring plans to be updated. You want to make sure things happen as you expect and hope they will, whenever the time comes. Therefore, regular reviews of your plan are essential.
A Cautionary Tale
Failing to keep your trust current and funded properly can have regrettable outcomes. Consider Marianne’s own story:
“Shortly after I became a new attorney, my grandmother died. She had paid an attorney to draft a will and a revocable living trust. However, the attorney simply provided her with the documents and never followed up. My grandmother did not understand the need to transfer her assets into the trust, and never did so. This caused her entire estate to go to probate after her death. This could have been avoided if the documents had been processed correctly. My father and I spent many late nights ascertaining the assets she owned. She had lived a frugal life. But things had never been organized. We learned that my grandmother’s assets — in particular her home — had appreciated significantly through the years. There had been no ongoing relationship with her attorney, so the increase in value had never been addressed. Tax issues arose, bringing with them a large tax at her death.”
Marianne’s thrifty and caring grandma would never have wanted this. She’d have been appalled to learn that penalties and fees reduced the legacy she’d left for her family.
We Can Help
You have already taken important steps in providing for those you care for. You have a plan and legal documents in place. Let us at Sundance Law review with you, to see if these documents still meet your needs. We can help ensure that you have an updated plan today, which will give you peace of mind, and security for your loved ones.