The creation of any estate planning document—be it a will, trust, or advance directive—can take an enormous weight off of a person’s shoulders. The act of setting a plan in place can make it feel as though you are protected for the rest of your life. However, these documents can still cause problems after your passing if they are not regularly updated during your lifetime.
How Often Should I Review the Designations of My Trust?
Your family’s situation is always evolving, laws governing trusts may change, and you may have different properties and priorities as the years go by. In order to reflect your current wishes, trusts should be reviewed at least once every five years to ensure that provisions are correct—particularly those involving your:
- Spouse. If you have gotten divorced or remarried, you may need to revise provisions for ex-spouses and specifically indicate your new spouse’s share.
- Trustees. The person who will take over as trustee may be the most important designation on the document. If your chosen trustee has passed away, become ill, moved abroad, or is otherwise not available to serve, you will need to provide alternatives who are able to perform the various duties required in trust administration.
- Children or grandchildren. After the birth of new children or grandchildren or the addition of children from a new marriage, you may wish to include these individuals in the trust. Similarly, you may wish to change the distributions for children who have come of age or developed different financial needs since they were first listed in the trust.
- Real estate. If you have recently sold or acquired property as part of your trust, you should make sure you are correctly holding the title to these properties. Any property not in the name of the trust will be required to go through probate, thus negating many of the benefits of the trust.
Whether you have already created a trust or need help from the very beginning, our legal team can walk you through the process and ensure your wishes are respected. Contact us today to speak to an attorney about your estate plan.