Is your US estate plan up to date?

5 July 2023 | Applicable law: US | 3 minute read

For most clients, signing and implementing a basic revocable estate plan is a major accomplishment and brings a sense of relief.  By having an estate plan in place, you have grappled with and made difficult decisions about (i) who will handle your assets in the event of death or incapacity, (ii) how your property will be disposed of at your passing, (iii) how you would like your healthcare decisions to be made in the event of incapacity, and (iv) for clients with minor children, who will serve as guardian if something were to happen to both parents (often one of the most difficult decisions clients make).  Once the estate plan is complete, there is sometimes a tendency to put or save the executed documents somewhere safe and then not think about them again.  After all, who wants to dwell on the idea of their own death or incapacity?  However, an estate plan is only as good as far as it reflects your current life situation and intentions and accounts for the current tax, trust and estate laws.  

For individuals and families with existing estate plans, we recommend reviewing the terms of your estate plan every three years or sooner if there is a change in circumstances to make sure that the plan accurately reflects your intentions. Changes that may warrant revisions to your estate plan include:

Family circumstances

  • Has your family expanded with the birth of a new child?
  • Are there any developments with your children or other beneficiaries that warrant changing provisions in your plan?
  • Have there been any deaths of immediate family members or other beneficiaries?
  • Have there been, or do you anticipate in the near future, any marriages or divorces by you, your family members or other beneficiaries?


  • Are your nominated successor trustees and/or executors alive and capable of handling such duties?
  • Are your nominated successor trustees and/or executors still the best individuals to handle such responsibilities?
  • Do your nominated successor trustees and/or executors reside in a physical location where it makes sense for them to handle the administration of your affairs?


  • Has your net worth significantly increased or decreased since the last time that you executed your estate plan documents?
  • Has the composition of your assets materially changed since the last time that you executed your estate plan documents?
  • Do you anticipate changes to either your net worth or assets in the near future?
  • Are your assets properly titled in the name of your trust and are your retirement account beneficiary designations up to date?


The federal transfer tax laws continue to be in flux.  In addition to estate and gift tax considerations, there are often other areas of law that come into play with how your estate plan may function, including but not limited to income tax, property tax, family law, etc.  Therefore, it is important to determine if any recent or upcoming changes in these areas of the law impact your estate plan.  

As you can see, there are many aspects that must be considered to ensure that your estate plan is up to date.  We encourage you to periodically review your estate plan, keeping in mind that changes in your life circumstances may warrant revisions, and reach out to us if you have any questions about how the current legal landscape may impact your plan.  

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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