It is as inevitable as the change in seasons: Eventually, we all age to the point where we are seniors. The estate plan that you created when your children were younger may no longer be as effective given your changed circumstances in life. It is important to review and keep estate plans up to date, especially when a modification has not occurred in the last several years or even decades. Your revocable living trust is no exception.
Six Areas to Review in Your Living Trust as You Age
As you age, it is important to keep your living trust current. This document is arguably the most important of all of the estate planning documents in your arsenal. Over time, the provisions of a trust may need updating. The following are six areas that we suggest you review to see if they are in need of a modification:
- Review your current trustees. Are all of the successor trustees still living? If so, are they still available and accessible to serve in this important role? Just as your life circumstances have changed, theirs may have too.
- Review your current tax provisions. Are they up to date with recent changes in the federal tax laws? Does the current size of your estate necessitate tax planning?
- Review the language relating to your incapacity. Does the trust allow for a smooth and easy transition to a successor trustee who can quickly step in and manage your affairs in the event that you become incapacitated? The risk of this occurring increases as we age.
- Review the provisions that direct the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries. Do you still have the same intentions and goals? Your wishes may have changed over the years, especially as children grow and grandchildren are introduced to the world.
- Does your current trust, and your estate plan as a whole, make any desired provisions relating to your long-term care needs? It may be time to consider incorporating more sophisticated techniques into your estate plan in order to address these concerns.
- Does your trust adequately address your concerns or wishes relating to the care of your surviving spouse if you pass? You may want to include more specific provisions addressing these issues.
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