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Estate planning involves both creating and updating a plan

In today's fast-paced world, thinking about creating or updating an estate plan is likely a last priority for many busy Californians. In fact, one survey indicated that the average amount of time between updates made to estate plans was nearly 20 years. However, paying attention to estate planning is essential in order to protect one's assets in California down the road.

In addition to creating a detailed estate plan, updating is important for many reasons. These plans may need to be updated in the event of a birth, death, disability, wedding, divorce or job change. Estate plan updates may also be necessary for those nearing retirement or when the stock market goes down or up.

Another reason to pay close attention to estate plans is that changes often take place in both non-tax-related and tax-related laws. For instance, changes may occur in trust laws or in laws associated with health and financial powers of attorney. These types of changes can occur at both the state level and the federal level, with changes in federal law in particular usually taking place on an annual basis.

Without a well-thought-out estate plan, certain assets may end up in unintended hands. In addition, guardians for minor children will not be appointed in the event that their parents pass away unexpectedly. An attorney in California can help with putting together wills and other important estate planning documents to ensure that the estate plan creator's wishes and needs -- along with his or her family's best interests -- are upheld in the years ahead.

Source: thetimesherald.com, "Why you should update your estate plan", Matthew M. Wallace, June 30, 2017

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