A proper estate plan requires the right ingredients. Attention to detail, an understanding of the importance of a will and open communication with heirs are all essential steps of creating a successful plan. Unfortunately, there is one important part of estate planning that many people in California forget about -- updating.
Wills, living wills and even trusts are not necessarily set-it-and-forget it forms that can be checked off of a to-do list and then forgotten about. This is especially true for those who have significant assets and business interests. When these types of interests are structured in such a manner where multiple jurisdictions might be involved, careful wording and small tweaks are often needed over time; otherwise changes in both law or business holdings could be adversely affected.
Despite how important it is to protect these types of assets and interests even after death, few fail to take the necessary steps. One estimate claims that when it comes to business owners, only nine out of 10 have an estate plan that is younger than five years. This could mean that upon their death, these business owners who have been highly successful in life might have their estate handled in a manner that does not align with their current wishes.
Discussing end-of-life plans can be understandably uncomfortable for California residents, and most people are not eager to return to the subject more than once in their lifetime. However, failing to at least evaluate an estate plan on an annual basis can lead to complications during estate administration, including the possibility of some assets becoming tied up in the probate process. These types of issues can easily be avoided by treating estate planning as an ongoing process and updating important documents as necessary.
Source: Forbes, "Why Continuous Estate Planning Is Essential For The Rich And Super-Rich", Russ Alan Prince, Sept. 6, 2017