Does your Revocable Living Trust address your current life circumstances?

Are you one of millions who setup your revocable living trust years ago and thought you were done?

No question that a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is a great, relatively simple, and effective estate planning tool. In fact, it is the core component of most estate plans. However, a RLT requires periodic review to ensure that it accurately addresses your family’s current circumstances and your ever changing goals.

The following is a simple list of questions you should ask yourself on an annual basis to determine if your current plan is appropriate:

  1. Have there been any births, deaths, illnesses, or accidents in your family which would impact your distribution plan?
  2. Are your named beneficiaries competent and mature enough to receive the distributions pursuant to your current plan?
  3. Are any of your beneficiaries or heirs receiving or likely to receive any public assistance due to a disability? If so, please consider the appropriateness of a Special Needs Trust to protect that individual.
  4. Are the successor Trustees of your Trust and Executors of your Will all in good health and competent to serve in those capacities?
  5. Have all of your assets been changed to the name of the Trust and are your Schedules of Assets up to date? Specifically, have you purchased any new property or refinanced any old property, and have deeds been prepared to transfer that property into the name of the Trust?
  6. Has the size of your estate changed due to an inheritance, a new life insurance policy, or an increase in the value of investments, etc.?
  7. Are the attorneys in fact and health care agents for your Durable Powers of attorney in good health and still competent to serve in those capacities, or have those Powers of Attorney expired?
  8. If you have significant assets in tax-deferred or tax-free accounts such as 401k’s, IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, etc., do you understand your options regarding beneficiary designations, and how those designations will impact the estate and income tax planning aspects of your trust? New techniques are available to further protect these types of assets, without compromising the tax benefits associated with these tax-deferred or tax-free accounts.

Additionally, you should also review your estate plan whenever a major change in the law occurs. At a minimum, we recommend that you sit down with your estate planning attorney to review your trust at least once every three years.


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