Existing Estate Plan Review

Establishing a comprehensive estate plan that meets all your needs is no easy task. It’s only natural that once the process is completed those involved will breathe a sigh of relief and get back to living their lives to the fullest. However, life isn’t static and it’s very possible your financial and family circumstances may have changed since drafting your will or estate plan.

As time passes and environments change, estate plans must be revisited and updated. It’s imperative you modify your estate plan to accommodate any major events that have occurred in your life recently such as having a child or getting divorced. In addition, estate planning laws are always in flux and changing. It’s important you review your estate plan to ensure it’s up to date, nothing important is omitted, and you’re receiving the full benefits of newly passed rules.

Updating Your Estate Plan in California | Ventura Estate Planning Lawyers

It’s important to understand that even if you have created an estate plan, you’re not completely off the hook. An estate plan is never truly complete, and it should be updated if you’ve experienced a major life event like having a grandchild or getting married. If you need to amend, modify, or just simply wish to conduct an in-depth review of your estate plan, contact the seasoned and talented estate planning California lawyers at Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd..

Chris Botti and Paul Morison have assisted thousands of individuals and families create and maintain comprehensive customized estate plans to fit their needs. Call Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. today to set up your first consultation and review your existing plan, modify its provisions, or start from the ground up. Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. has various locations in the state of California including Ventura, Valencia, Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara. 

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When Should an Estate Plan Be Reviewed?

If you’ve drafted a will and established a trust, then you’re already ahead of most Americans who don’t have an estate plan set up. However, even the most comprehensive estate plan may need a check-up from time to time if circumstances change in your life. Listed below are some various reasons why you may need to review or modify your estate plan.

  • Trustees or Executors are Inappropriate – As time passes, situations change and individuals we may have selected as a trustee or executor may no longer be the best fit. For example, if your personal representative of the estate has aged to the point of incapacity, moved away, or passed on, then you’ll have to appoint a new one.
  • New Additions or Omissions – It’s important you update all your relevant estate planning documents if you’d like to include new family members. This is especially common for those who have just had a new child or grandchild. Additionally, there may be instances where you would like to omit a family member from your estate. We frequently see this after a divorce or sudden death.
  • Moved to Another State – Every state has its own estate planning laws. That is why it’s so important you update your estate plan as soon as possible if you’ve moved to a new state. You may have to modify or rewrite certain estate planning documents because they don’t fit the criteria required from the State.

Listed below are some other common reasons why people update or review their estate plans.

  • The value of certain assets has increased dramatically
  • You sold off or gave away a portion of your assets
  • More than 5 years have passed since you updated your estate plan
  • Started a new business
  • Found a charity you’d like to endorse after death
  • You were diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness
  • Death of a beneficiary or guardian
  • Changed your mind about certain medical interventions

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Estate Planning Questions to Consider

Estate planning is a complicated matter and requires a lot of discussion between you and your loved ones. When reviewing your existing estate plan, we encourage you to ask yourself and family members some of the following questions.

  • Has there been any significant changes to your relationships and family members?
  • Are there family members with special needs that may need assistance once you’re incapacitated or passed away?
  • Do you have children from a previous marriage and how are you dividing assets between them and your current spouse?
  • Does your estate plan include an Advance Health Care Directive and other relevant estate planning documents, so your health care wishes are clear and indisputable?
  • Does your estate plan address long-term care needs?
  • Does your long-term care estate plan take into account Medi-Cal or Medicare?
  • Have newly passed tax laws affected your estate plan?
  • Has your house been properly transferred to your trust with the proper deed?
  • Should your assets pass outright to your children or stay in a trust for a period of time?
  • Any other questions relevant to your estate plan.

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Yearly Estate Planning Checklist for California

Most estate planning professionals would recommend you update and/or review your estate plan every 3-5 years. Listed below are some estate planning considerations you may want to look into to ensure your estate plan fits all your needs.

  • Inventory Your Assets – It’s important you have a thorough understanding of what property you own and how you plan to distribute it. Take stock of all your assets including real property, personal property, financial accounts, etc. It’s also important you take into account any debts you may have and who is obligated to pay for them if you become incapacitated or pass away.
  • Identify Your Beneficiaries or Heirs – Ensure you know who your beneficiaries or heirs are and that they are given your property according to your wishes. For instance, in California, any community property is automatically given to the surviving spouse. If you want to distribute certain property to certain people, you’ll need to ensure your estate planning documents reflect that.
  • Learn About New Estate Planning Tools – You may think your only option with your estate plan is to file a last will and testament. Although this is a foundation to many estate plans, it’s by no means the only estate planning tool you need. Depending on your circumstances, your estate plan may benefit from other various tools including a living trust, power of attorney, etc.
  • Ensure You Have the Right Executor or Trustee – One of the most important parts of your estate plan is to appoint an executor or successor trustee for your estate. If you have an estate that’s becoming increasingly more complex, it may be a good idea to consider a new executor or trustee who’s a professional to administer the estate.
  • Consider End of Life Care – It’s very common for elderly people and couples to go bankrupt at the end of their life because they didn’t incorporate long-term care in their estate plans. Thankfully, with the right estate plan you can guarantee you’ll receive excellent care at the end of your life as well as save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Creating a Plan to Avoid Probate – One of the primary goals of most estate plans is to ensure assets are passed on without court intervention from probate. The process of probate can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful for surviving family members. For these reasons and more, it may be a good idea to create an estate plan that’s designed to avoid probate entirely. With the right estate planning attorney on your side, you can accomplish this goal.

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Additional Resources

Plan Your Estate | Sacramento County Public Law Library – Visit the official website for the Sacramento County Law Library to learn more about estate planning. Access the site to learn your options between a will and living trust, community resources, important forms you may need, and thorough estate planning research guides.

California Laws Regarding Probate – Visit the official website for California’s Statutes to find detailed information about the process of probate. Access the site to learn more about what probate is, what happens if you die without an estate plan established, information about health care decisions while incapacitated, and more.

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Ventura Estate Planning Lawyers | Update Your Wills and Living Trust, CA

The key to a comprehensive and effective estate plan is constant maintenance. If you’re looking to modify or review your current estate plan, contact Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd.. Our California wills and trust lawyers at Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. have over 90 years of combined estate planning experience. They can conduct an in-depth analysis of your current estate plan and inform you of any gaps in your plan that could cost your loved ones an exorbitant amount of time and money.

Call Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. today at (877) 585-1885 to set up your first consultation at one of our various locations. Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. accepts clients in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, Los Angeles County, San Luis Obispo County, and Kern County, California.

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