October 20, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Why Should a Person Review an Estate Plan?
Many people understand the importance of creating estate plans. Such plans help people ensure that their loved ones are taken care of and their wishes are carried out after they die. However, far too often people believe that once they make estate plans they can set the plans aside and never think about them again. Estate planning should be an on-going process. An inheritance dispute involving a family from California demonstrates the need for regular estate plan reviews.
Family Feud Over Inheritance
A California family who had made a great deal of money by selling their retail business to Best Buy became embroiled in a legal battle over the mother's estate. The mother died in 2010, the year when there was no federal estate tax, so the dispute gained a lot of attention. The family's two daughters alleged that their father used forgery and undue influence to prevent them from getting their mother's half of the couple's $100 million estate.
A California Superior Court judge ruled that the daughters will have to wait until their father dies before they receive the inheritance from their mother, as it is in a marital trust. The father may use half of the estate how he pleases. The daughters will not need to pay estate taxes on their inheritance from their mother, however, even if they are not able to collect it until later, since their mother died in 2010.
Estate planning professionals note that this case shows one of the many reasons that people should review their estate plans -- changing tax laws. One of the reasons the case garnered so much attention is the issue of whether the daughters would have to pay estate taxes because of estate tax law changes. Experts note that a review of the estate plan would have prevented litigation from tearing the family apart.
Estate Plan Review Triggers
Several key life events should cause people to review their estate plans. Changing relationships are an important reason for updating estate plans. When people get married, they may want to make provisions for their new spouses in their wills or trusts. They may also want to make prenuptial agreements to protect inheritances for children from previous relationships. Divorce or death of a spouse is another time when people should review estate plans. They would not only want to name new heirs in wills, but also review beneficiary designations on non-probate assets such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts. The birth or adoption of a child is another time to review estate plans so parents can properly include their children in their plans.
When people buy or sell assets, they should also update estate plans. Buying a home or starting a business is a big financial investment and such assets need to be included in estate plans. Also, any time people open new accounts they should asses how those assets fit in overall estate plans.
Talk to an Attorney
Everyone needs an estate plan, no matter what size their estates are. Proper planning can save loved ones a lot of trouble after a person dies. If you have questions about creating or updating estate plans, contact an experienced estate plan attorney who can assist you.
Article provided by Burkley & Brandlin LLP
Visit us at http://www.burkley-brandlin.com/---
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