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When to Update Your Estate Plan Documents & Why It's Important

When You Should Update Your Estate Plan Documents and Why It's Important

Everyone should consider having an estate plan, and everyone with an estate plan should periodically revisit their plan with their Attorney to consider making updates. We recommend revisiting your estate plan every 3-5 years with your Attorney to discuss any potential updates and review your current plan. Below we have outlined the main reasons to consider updating your estate plan:


Your Relationships Have Changed


As time goes on, your relationships with the people you have designated in your documents may change. This is true for people you have named as beneficiaries to inherit your property, and for people you have named to serve in fiduciary roles such as Persaonal Representative, Trustee, Power of Attorney, or Health Care Proxy. Click here for more information pertaining to all of the parties involved in your estate plan, their roles, and responsibilities

Carefully reconsider the people you named in your estate plan. For the fiduciary roles, are they still able and willing to perform these jobs as you’d like them done? Has your estate changed so that someone else now is a better choice? Has anyone aged, moved, or passed away? For your beneficiaries, consider your relationships with the named beneficiaries. Has anyone passed away or lost contact? Have there been divorces or new in-laws in the family? Are there people you have not named as beneficiaries that you would like to provide for now? If you made trust provisions for minor children or younger beneficiaries who have grown older, perhaps you should consider changing the progression of their distributions.

Your Assets Have Changed

A significant change in the value of your estate since the plan was drafted should cause a review, whether the estate’s value increased or decreased. You need to review how the property is divided and decide if that still is what you want in light of the new circumstances. You should also consider reviewing your estate plan if you have acquired new assets or sold existing assets, such as a business or real estate.

Additionally, in Massachusetts, there is an estate tax on estates valued over $2 Million. Perhaps when you executed your estate plan, you may have been under the threshold, but you should review your assets to determine whether you are now over the threshold. There may be estate planning tools available to you that can minimize or eliminate estate tax.

Your Goals Have Changed

The main considerations when it comes to estate planning are avoiding probate, minimizing estate tax, and asset protection. Click here for our full guide outlining everything you should know about setting up your estate plan, including how we can help you properly decide between a Will, a Trust, or a combination of the two. Asset protection can include protecting the primary residence from a Medicaid lien for nursing home costs. As you age and if you are concerned about protecting your home in the event you need to go to a nursing facility, you should certainly consider revisiting your estate plan. It is also very important that this type of planning be done at least five (5) years before you actually need nursing home care. This is due to the MassHealth five (5) year look back rule when it comes to your countable assets for eligibility purposes.

Your Documents May Be Out of Date

It is generally a good idea to update you living documents periodically – in particular, your Durable Power of Attorney. Most banking institutions will not honor a Durable Power of Attorney that is 10 years old or older. You should execute a new power of attorney every 5-10 years, even if you do not have any changes to ensure they remain valid and up to date. 

If you have any questions at all or would like to speak to us about updating your estate plan documents, please call our office at (781) 848-0040 or click the link below to fill out our form and a member of our team will be in touch as soon as possible. 


This blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading this blog you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Lane, Lane & Kelly, LLP.