For many, many people their estate planning documents have been gathering dust
San Rafael, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) May 06, 2011
In her latest newsletter, “Spring Cleaning for Your Estate Plan,” Julia P. Wald, a Marin estate planning attorney, explains that estate documents that have been sitting around for several years need to be dusted off and examined to make sure that they still reflect the estate holder’s current wishes.
“For many, many people their estate planning documents have been gathering dust,” says Wald. “Getting rid of dust is just what you do with spring cleaning, so let's think about cleaning the dust off your estate planning documents.”
Wald offers the following questions for people to ask themselves to determine if their will, trust, and other documents need a thorough cleaning:
- Has the composition of your family changed?
- Have you changed your mind on who you want to receive the family treasures?
- Have your assets changed?
- Have the new estate tax laws affected your plans?
Regarding family members, Wald warns that relationship changes can make previous plans obsolete. “A remarriage invalidates a Will that does not mention the new spouse,” she cautions. “The Will from your first marriage will not be enforceable!”
In addition, people may have a trust that no longer makes sense. The most typical example of a trust that is no longer needed is the trust for children which lasts until the youngest one is 25. If everyone is well past 25, it may be time to take that sub-trust out of the Living Trust and instead craft and plan a trust for the grandchildren.
Changing which family member gets each asset may also make sense. “Tommy who seemed so interested in music may live in a tiny house with his family of 5 and no longer be interested in having a grand piano while Wendy longs for one for her talented son,” she suggested.
The new 2010 federal estate and gift tax law provisions also make cleaning up estate documents a good idea. Wald’s newsletter describes several scenarios where trusts and other estate plans made in previous years are no longer needed or no longer do what they originally intended.
At the very least, Wald says, estate documents need to be reviewed—perhaps with an attorney—for a refresher on exactly what they say.
“Happy springtime and summer vacation,” Wald concludes. “Thinking of summer vacation reminds me that people often want their documents updated before taking a trip!”
For more information on spring cleaning for estate documents or any of the estate planning services offered by the Law Offices of Julia P. Wald, call them at (415) 482-7555 or view them on the web at http://www.waldlawyers.com.
About the Law Offices of Julia P. Wald
The Law Offices of Julia P. Wald is a law firm that specializes in San Francisco Bay Area estate planning, probate and trusts, and conservatorship. Julia P. Wald has been named top attorney in Northern California by Super Lawyers for six years, most recently in 2009 and 2010. They feature accredited San Rafael attorneys who have experience in many aspects of estate planning, in addition to wills in Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area living trusts.
As a San Francisco Bay Area attorney, Wald is a member of the California State Bar and has been certified by the California Board of Certification as a Certified Specialist in Probate, Estate Planning, and Trust law since 1990. She has been practicing estate planning law in the San Francisco Bay Area for 25 years. The Law Offices of Julia P. Wald serves the communities of Marin County, San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area.
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