Everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of your level of net worth. Think of your estate plan like a car: it needs ongoing service to keep running smoothly.
One of the key functions of an estate plan is to distribute assets after you die.
If you don’t have an estate plan, the state has one for you, but it may not be the one you want. It is part of the intestacy laws of the state and chances are good it is not going to align with your wishes. Your death will trigger a transfer of your assets anyway—you may as well take charge of what will happen.
A recent article, “Why Continuous Estate Planning Is Essential For The Rich And Super-Rich,” from Forbes reminds us that estate plans should be updated regularly to address changes. These could be changes in our lives or changes in tax and estate laws. New laws and regulations can bring with them obstacles and opportunities.
The larger your estate, especially for the rich and super-rich, the more important it is to stay current. Those with complex business structures and international investments are always going to be required to adjust their financial and estate plans more often than those with smaller, simpler assets.
The more investments you have, the more important it is to be on top of the situation to be certain that your wishes are carried out at death.
Updating estate plans for everyone is a wise move. However, many fail to stay current. About 90% of highly accomplished business owners have estate plans that are more than five years old. These people are ignoring ways to maximize their wealth, but more importantly, they may also be setting up their wealth to be distributed in a manner that doesn’t reflect their current wishes.
The statistics are similar for many of the super-rich. They, too, have outdated plans. Research shows that the estate plans for the exceptionally wealthy families are also more than five years old.
If your estate plan is more than a few years old, it is probably out of date and needs to be reviewed and adjusted. An experienced estate planning attorney will be able to help you take advantage of any new laws and make sure that your estate plan still achieves your wishes.
Make an appointment today. It is easy to overlook this task, but it is equally easy to act and prevent any major mishaps. Don’t put it off any longer.
Reference: Forbes (September 6, 2017) “Why Continuous Estate Planning Is Essential For The Rich And Super-Rich”