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Reasons to consider estate plan updates

For Louisiana residents who want to protect and pass along assets, having an estate plan is vital. However, it's also important to update these documents and arrangements over time. While there is no "standard" time to update estate plans, it's typically advised that plans be reviewed every two or three years to confirm that everything is still valid and appropriate. There are unique circumstances or life events that could also warrant an update to an existing plan.

One of the most compelling reasons to make estate planning adjustments is because of a relocation to another state. This is important because estate-related laws and guidelines vary from state to state. For instance, the minimum share requirement with inheritance for spouses may vary as can the number of required witnesses for a will. It's also advised that individuals review and update related documents such as powers of attorney, advance medical directives and living wills after a move or the establishment of a secondary residence in another state.

A revision to estate documents may also be necessary if there are family additions or losses that may include newly born children, new spouses, spouses who are now exes, or deaths. A significant change in the value of assets, outdated beneficiary designations for IRAs, 401(K)s, or other retirement plans and issues with currently named executors and trustees are among some of the other common reasons why individuals may benefit from estate updates.

When there is a need to make updates, an attorney familiar with estate planning basics can offer guidance and assistance by refiling documents or amending existing ones. A lawyer can also determine if all the necessary requirements have been met with wills, trusts, beneficiary designations and related documents.

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