Welcome to the EPAC Corner! We are pleased to bring you this content from the Estate Planning Advisory Committee (EPAC) of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. If you have any questions about the information below or the EPAC group, please contact Community Foundation Executive Director Dan Templin at 815-748-5383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just like their creators, an estate plan can age over time. Some estate plans age well and are still perfectly appropriate decades after the original signing. Other estate plans age poorly and do not accomplish the client’s goals within a few years after signing.
There are three reasons why you should have your estate plan updated:
The most common occasion for updating an estate plan is a change in your life. Illnesses, deaths, births, divorces, and financial setbacks or improvements can all be reasons to change the original estate plan. Amid our busy lives, evaluating these events’ effect on a well-developed estate plan may be challenging. Therefore, I recommend that clients review their estate plans annually in connection with income tax filings and seek a professional review if family circumstances have changed.
Next, an estate plan may need to be updated if there are significant changes in the law. Each year, there are dozens of state and federal laws enacted that can affect an estate plan. Many of these changes are technical in nature. When a significant change that affects estate plans is enacted, it is typically reported heavily by the general media. More specific changes in the law are often reported in financial newsletters sent periodically by investment advisors. Suppose you hear news of a change in the law that could affect your estate plan. In that case, you should contact your professional advisors for a personal review of your plan and the effect the new law may have on you and your family.
Finally, your professional advisors should comprehensively review an estate plan at least every five years. While certain documents, such as wills and trusts, may not need any revision, I recommend that Powers of Attorney be “refreshed” regularly. Although a Power of Attorney remains valid until revoked, older Powers of Attorney may not be as readily accepted as a newly-executed Power of Attorney. One financial institution recently advised me of their policy that any Power of Attorney older than five years must have a separate certification of validity submitted.
– Matthew L. Brown, local attorney and member of the DeKalb County Estate Planning Advisory Committee
Established in 2020, the DeKalb County Estate Planning Advisory Committee (EPAC) is comprised of local professionals providing estate planning services, including Attorneys, Trust Officers, CPAs, Wealth Advisors, and Insurance Agents. The purpose of the EPAC is to raise awareness and understanding of the Community Foundation as a resource for professional advisors and their clients, assist with efforts to deliver effective estate planning education to the general public, and to notify estate planning professionals on topics relevant to the intersection of estate planning and philanthropy.
Matthew L. Brown