Whenever I meet with someone for the first time either in our Marietta office or our Chattanooga office, I will typically ask, “What has prompted you to get your affairs in order?” I find most of the time there is something that has them concerned.
Because of this, I’ve realized there are two instances where you should have your estate planning documents reviewed or updated. The first is when there is a change in your family circumstances. The second is when there has been a change in the law.
Perhaps you’ve had an addition to the family, such as a new daughter or a new grandson. Perhaps you’ve lost someone in the family. Perhaps you’ve moved. Perhaps those you’ve designated as agents in a power-of-attorney are no longer that close to you. Perhaps you’re concerned with an over-controlling daughter-in-law or a not-quite-perfect son-in-law. These are just a few of the family circumstances which may warrant having your estate planning documents updated or reviewed.
Another time to have your estate planning documents reviewed or updated is when there has been a change in the law. This one is a bit difficult for clients because, rightfully so, they don’t sit around waiting for the latest Supreme Court case to be handed down or keep track of legislation going through the state capital like we lawyers do. But, every year, there are minor shifts in the law and sometimes there are major ones.
As an example, a few years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges declaring that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Before this, estate planning lawyers had to be creative to help same-sex couples with their estate planning. Now, with the options wide open, same-sex couples should revisit their estate plans and have them updated.
Perhaps there has been a change in your family circumstances or you feel that it’s been too long since your last update or review of your estate planning documents. If you’d like to discuss these issues and have your plan set up the right way, the first time, call us at (678) 809-4922.