Legal Tips

Author: Rena McDonald

We are all ready to start our summer adventures. It is always a great time to take stock of your affairs before going on your summer get aways. A quick legal review of your estate plan is always beneficial.

When asked by clients whether or not an attorney needs to periodically review their estate documents I always ask a few questions. Has it been more than 5 years since you have had them reviewed? Have you had any major changes in your assets or debts? Has your family changed, ie any new births or passing of loved ones? Have you moved? Any new relationship statuses such as marriages or divorces?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then you should probably have someone review your documents to make sure they still say what you want.

So often clients draft their estate plans and set them aside never to be looked at again. Just as life continues to move on so should your comprehensive plan for transference of assets. Too often trusts are left out of date and don’t make sense years later when they are needed. Also, when parties divorce the trust can stay valid which means your ex is getting assets that you intended to go to your heirs.

Additionally, the laws periodically change which require new language or structure to protect assets for taxes or issues in transfers. Did you know that all medical directives or power of attorney documents must also include a HIPAA release? This means that the doctor can’t give the medical diagnosis to your power of attorney to help them make a decision on your behalf.

If your assets have changed and you haven’t accounted for that, they may not transfer the way you intended. For example, you need to amend your estate after your move. Most individuals create a trust to protect their assets from the probate process. If you fail to amend your assets in your estate documents, your new house may have to go through probate rather than transferring under your trust. This can be very costly and negate your reasons for why you created a trust.

It is also a good time to review whether or not the mechanism you have created is the right one for your assets. For example, perhaps you previously drafted a will because your estate value fell under the probate requirements. But now, due to rising home values your estate is worth more than before, in which case a probate would be required. So now a trust would be a better option for you.

Taking a few moments to review your estate plan can save hundreds of thousands of dollars, heartache, and family strife in the years to come.

The McDonald Law Group provides the information for informational purposes only. The information does not create an attorney-client relationship constitute legal advice.

Please contact our attorneys if you wish to discuss in more detail the contents of this article at 702 448 4962.

McDonald Law Group
203 S Water St #300,
Henderson, NV 89015
702 448 4962


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