If you are one of the thoughtful people who already have an estate plan you may be looking at the news stories about President Obama and his changes to the estate tax and wondering if it will affect your plan. “How long ago did I create my plan?” is the inevitable question we ask ourselves, “What has changed? Has it been long enough that I have to update it?” Well, we’re here to tell you that if you have to ask the question then, yes, it’s time to update your plan.
You may think that your plan is simple, your assets haven’t changed, and so changes in the estate tax law won’t affect you, but as this article points out, it’s not just changes in the estate tax law that can impact your estate plan. “A law change that inadvertently has affected some estate plans in recent years is the law protecting medical privacy (commonly referred to as HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). This law, while protecting your privacy, can be a problem if you become incapacitated, and someone who is supposed to act on your behalf cannot get the necessary information.” Does your estate plan include an updated HIPAA? Ours do.
Inevitable life changes are another reason to update your estate plan regularly. These include changing friendships or family relationships, the births or deaths of family members, your own changing medical needs, and more.
It’s not so hard to make an appointment with your estate planning attorney for a quick review of your plan to determine if it should be updated. And chances are that most years changes won’t be sweeping but small, such as the inclusion of a HIPAA Authorization provision in your documents, or the addition of a new grandchild in your plan of bequests. Don’t let the passage of time render your plan obsolete.