Does Your Trust Need a Facelift? You Need Periodic Estate Plan Reviews.

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What's Involved in Estate Planning?

Periodic Estate Plan Reviews are Important.

How old is your trust? If there have been a few presidents since you made your trust, it might be time to put it under a microscope and tighten it up. This is not a scheme for estate planning lawyers to bill you. Everyone should periodically review their estate planning documents including trusts. The changes you make aren’t cosmetic like a facelift they are crucial to your estate plans’ success.

The first thing to review is the family members and trustee listings. People change, relationships change, people die, and trusts companies merge or even go out of business. These issues warrant a review of you documents. Older trusts typically only list one trustee whereas modern trusts allow for a list of positions including: co-trustees, successor trustees, trust protectors, loan directors and more.

Areas to Look Over in Estate Plan Reviews

Another area to examine is your Contingent Remainder Beneficiaries. This is the list of final persons to receive assets if all primary persons are not alive. Obviously, this can very easily change over time. Be sure the manner they are listed is clear. Sometimes a category of people is used for example grandchildren or nieces and nephews. If possible, include a current list of the people within the category you have chosen.

Changes in the structure of your trust documents may also be a consideration. Do you have or need grantor trust status? This is a trust whose income is reported for income tax purposes by another person. It can be a complex issue and any changes you make should include a CPA and an estate planning attorney.

A final area of concern is if your trust is Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) tax exempt. The GST tax is a tax that applies if assets are passed to grandchildren or future generations that exceed the exemption amount. The GST status of a trust often is left unplanned. Review the status of your trust with your estate planning lawyer.

Be sure to make updated copies once any changes have been made to your estate planning documents. You should have a set, as well as your advisers such as lawyer, trustees, and insurance agent. If you make changes to an insurance trust, be sure that the changes are filed with the insurance carriers.

Our estate planning attorneys are available to review documents with you or field any questions you may have. We enjoy the chance to preserve and maintain your estate planning goals.