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I’ve Created and Funded My Living Trust – What do I Need to do to Maintain It?

It is simply not enough to create a living trust, no matter how well designed and drafted. Changes in your personal and financial circumstances, changes in the law, and changes in your attorney’s knowledge and experience, affect the long-term viability of your estate plan. It is important that you periodically meet with your attorney and other professional advisors to review and update your estate plan.

Of course, you are the expert on your family, so you need to keep your lawyer informed on any changes in your family situation. That would include marriages, divorces, new children, a change of beneficiaries, a change of the distribution split, and so forth. Your attorney is the expert on changes in the laws which would affect your trust. And, as your attorney continues to gain experience and participate in continuing education, he or she may develop new planning techniques that you might want to adopt.

The best type of estate plan maintenance is a formal updating program that provides for regular periodic meetings, often annually or semi-annually, between the client and estate planning attorney. A formal estate planning maintenance program will ensure that your documents remain “state-of-the-art,” will provide for a funding review to verify that all your assets are properly titled to match your estate planning objectives, and will alert you regarding changes in the law that might impact your estate planning objectives.