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Why it's so important to revisit estate planning documents

It's no secret that sitting down to create a comprehensive estate plan is not an easy endeavor. That's largely because it involves taking time out of your already busy schedule to discuss an issue that may seem overly complex and even slightly unnerving.

While this is understandable, it's incredibly important for people from all walks of life to take the time to address their estate planning goals. Equally important, however, is for those who have already gone through the process to make sure they follow through on their goals and/or update their documents as needed.

To illustrate why this is so important, consider the case of someone who has created a revocable trust, an incredibly valuable estate planning tool that can help minimize taxes, avoid the costly probate process, and provide the desired privacy.

Even though a person has gone to the trouble of actually creating a revocable trust, they may neglect to actually fund it. This is significant because the trust will not exist in the eyes of the law if it holds no assets. Accordingly, a person will need to ensure that they work with a financial or legal professional to help them retitle assets in the name of the trust.

Similarly, a person might create the revocable trust, fund it and then simply neglect to revisit it over the years. This is a mistake, say experts, given that life circumstances can change -- more children, the named trustee may no longer be suitable, etc. -- as well as the estate tax exclusion. In light of these realities, these experts recommend revisiting the trust documents -- and any other estate planning documents -- every few years.

If you would like to learn more about the estate planning process or require assistance with updating your existing estate plan, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

Source: CNBC, "Trust bust: Steer clear of the 8 biggest estate-planning mistakes," Barry Glassman, Oct. 22, 2014

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