For an experienced Denver estate planning and litigation administration lawyer, contact M Kent Olsen, by calling 720-644-1605

A good estate plan is a valuable tool to ensure that your wishes concerning who should assist with your affairs in the event of death, disability or incapacity and how your assets should be distributed upon your death are accurately reflected and known. However, an estate plan can only be good and effective if it is up to date. All too often, clients sign estate planning documents but then fail to ensure they are appropriately updated based on major life events - or even just after the passing of time.

Review your plan for life changes

In general, it is recommended that you review estate planning documents upon the occurrence of any major life change, including but not limited to, the following:

  • Change in your own marital status or the marital status of anyone named in your documents (marriage, divorce, remarriage)
  • Change in your health or disability
  • Death, illness or disability of your spouse, child, grandchild or anyone named in your documents
  • Birth or adoption of a child or grandchild
  • Major increases or decreases in your assets (real estate purchase, investments)
  • Career changes (new job, promotion, starting a business)
  • Change in the educational needs of a child, grandchild or other dependent
  • Receipt of a sizeable inheritance or gift
  • Changes in your life insurance or long-term care insurance coverage
  • Borrowing a large amount of money or taking on other financial liability
  • Changes in you or your spouse's financial goals

Understand changes to federal or state laws

In addition to personal reasons, changes in federal and Colorado laws can also be a catalyst for estate plan updates. For example, several major estate and income tax law changes have occurred in recent years that may change how you wish to distribute your assets.

Depending on your specific circumstances, changes in the law may hinder the effectiveness of your estate plan. You may be missing valuable opportunities to preserve wealth, not to mention save your loved ones the hassle of additional taxes and other expenses.

Ask the right questions

It is vital to ask the right questions as you review all your estate planning documents. The best way to leave no stone unturned in this process is to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney. He or she can help to make sure your plan:

  • Minimizes all state and federal taxes upon your death, including those for property, life insurance and IRAs
  • Takes all measures to avoid will contests and disputes during estate administration
  • Ensures revocable living trusts (if included in your estate plan) are fully funded
  • Nominates appropriate persons to serve as your financial or health care power of attorney, as guardian for any minor children and as the personal representative of your estate or trustee of any trusts
  • Protects your children's inheritance if your surviving spouse remarries
  • Provides creditor and lawsuit protection for assets intended for your spouse or children

Contact an experienced estate planning firm to address revisions to your estate planning documents.