When should an estate plan be reviewed?


Every estate plan should be reviewed whenever the facts in a client’s life differ from the assumptions that they made when the plan was constructed. After all, we’re trying to design the best possible outcome for some lousy circumstances, either incapacity or death. We don’t know what the future holds. So we build a plan built upon the best assumptions we can make. What will the law be, what will the facts be, what will someone’s health be, what will someone’s life circumstances be? When there are changes in any of those, it’s time to review the plan. I don’t apply a numerical formula for that that should be done every 12 months or 18 months or 2 years. No, it’s built upon the assumptions that we use in life going forward, and when there are facts that change those assumptions, it’s time to review the plan.

Note: The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 signed into law in December 2017 increased the exemption amounts mentioned in these videos. The personal estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax lifetime exemption was increased to $11.18 million per person. The annual gift tax exclusion was increased to $15,000 per donee per year.

Both amounts are indexed for inflation and may increase year over year until December 31, 2025, when the law sunsets and reverts to 2017 values