Although estate planning documents may still be valid, they may not meet an individual’s needs beyond a certain date. Those who follow estate planning trends say that if a will was created over 10 to 15 years ago, it may be worthwhile to review and update it. For instance, wills created before April 2003 may not account for new HIPPA laws, which may make it difficult for someone with power of attorney to carry out certain health care wishes.
Wills that were created before 2005 may not account for state taxes on an estate on top of federal estate taxes. Prior to 2005, state taxes were offset by a federal credit, but that credit was eliminated, which means it may be worthwhile to review a will if state taxes may be an issue.
Those who haven’t reviewed their will since 2010 may wish to do so as the estate tax exclusion increased dramatically. It was set at $5 million in 2010 and is indexed to inflation. In 2015, the exclusion is $5.43 million, and a 2013 change to the law made some or all of the exclusion portable between spouses. Depending on an individual’s net worth, certain tax planning documents may either be removed or need to be added, which makes reviewing an existing will all the more worthwhile.
Proper will planning and regular reviews of that plan can help avoid unintended estate consequences when an individual passes away. Updating will documents and other provisions may increase the odds that an individual’s final wishes are carried out as intended. Those who either don’t have wills or have not updated their existing will in the past few years may wish to talk to an estate planning attorney about creating one as soon as possible.