We covered the first six reasons to update your estate plan in parts one and two.

7.  A Substantial Change in Assets

By planning and structuring your estate, you can minimize taxes, keep more money in the your beneficiaries pockets, and avoid a potentially costly estate administration. Did you get a big bump in pay? Buy a new home with significantly more equity than your previous home? Having more is a great thing until your beneficiaries become subject to high federal or state estate taxes.

8. Retiring or Moving to Another State

If you move to a new state, have your estate plan reviewed by a lawyer in that new state. This way, you’ll have confidence that the provisions of your estate plan will have the same effect in your new state.

Every state has their own unique set of estate laws. Although most of them are fairly consistent, the minor differences are enough to make a difference in how your estate plan is executed at your passing.  Many states have different tax levels for estates, so what was under the taxation limit in one state may be subject to taxation in another.

9.  Changes in the Tax Law

Tax law is constantly fluctuating. Both federal estate tax laws and the trust and probate laws of states change on a semi-regular basis.  Whenever this happens, your estate plan is at risk of not adequately protecting your estate or of incurring significant penalties and costs. Check it over to make sure everything is set up the way you want it to be.

10. Changes in the Situations of Guardians/Trustee/Executors

The people you chose to raise your children, handle their trusts and administer your estate have changes in their lives too.  Make sure that you review not only your situation, but theirs as well, to be sure that those changes don’t make them not the right choice.

So that’s it.  The Top 10 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan. The only thing you can expect in life is the unexpected. Plan ahead and keep your estate plan constantly updated. It will help you sleep better at night knowing your family is protected if anything ever happens to you.

Thomas Babson Kane is an attorney in Glastonbury, CT, specializing in Estate Planning and Real Estate law.

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