For those Florida residents who have jumped out ahead of the curve and have an estate plan in place, all of the work is not permanently wrapped up. Estate planning is an organic process, and it will be necessary to review the plan with the attorney approximately every three years. When a tax law changes, its impact must be compared to the existing terms of one’s plan so that updates can be made if necessary. In addition, there are several other reasons to review periodically the continuing accuracy and efficacy of one’s plan.
An estate plan can be impacted by the occurrence of certain life events. This may include but is not limited to marriage, divorce, death of beneficiaries and the unavailability of persons nominated to serve as executors and trustees. Even moving to another state may call up the need for review of the estate plan due to the nuances of legal mandates from state to state.
A number of legal documents and instruments are not technically a part of one’s estate at death because the funds will pass directly to the beneficiary listed in the account or policy. This applies to life insurance, investment accounts, retirement accounts and similar items where there is a specific beneficiary listed to inherit the proceeds directly. The funds do not go to the decedent’s estate at death but instead they go directly to the listed beneficiary.
However, if the listed beneficiary dies before the principal, the principal must timely add a new beneficiary or risk having the proceeds go to the probate estate. When one meets with an experienced estate planning attorney for a three-year review, all of the foregoing points will be discussed and all updates and changes made. This is the safest way to assure that significant portions of one’s estate does not fall into a position of vulnerability where funds may be lost unnecessarily. This kind of review must be done in Florida and other states to assure that all requirements are met and all opportunities maximized.