U.S. Capital

Update Estate Plans to Prevent Loved Ones from Being Left Out and Assets at Risk

Feb 23, 2012

Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 22, 2012 – “Jeopardize your intentions. Alienate a loved family member. Tie your assets up in court –these are just a few of the consequences that could happen if you do not update your estate plan,” said Dallas estate planning attorney John Hale of The Hale Law Firm.

No one likes to think it will happen to them, but the years go by and an estate plan that was drafted years ago needs to be looked at much like going to the doctor for an annual checkup. “You should do an annual review to see if any big life events have occurred,” Hale said. “What if a parent was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease – do you have a plan to protect them against nursing home spend-down? What if you had a child – have you checked to make sure they are properly provided for in your Will?”

All of these types of events necessitate an estate plan review. Banking, insurance and retirement plan beneficiary designations should be reviewed with consideration given to whether a certain type of trust is needed. Guardians for children, executor of the will, and who has power of attorney should also be assessed.

“Even if you live an uneventful life, things gradually change over time. As children and grandchildren enter adulthood, you should reconsider whether or not to treat them equally. Some of them may mange their personal and business affairs wisely. Others may develop alcohol or drug dependency. It is important that you consider how your estate plan will affect your loved ones,” said Hale. “Will it help them help themselves or will it enable them to act irresponsibly?”

The law is also subject to change. Every year, the federal government debates important changes that may significantly affect your estate plan. Recently, important changes have been made to federal estate tax and health care laws. In Texas, the legislature meets every two years. On January 1, 2014, the Texas Estates Code will replace the current Texas Probate Code. “Even seemingly minor changes in the law can result in major shifts in regulatory policy and judicial interpretation,” said Hale. “Words matter.”

John Hale is a Dallas estate planning lawyer and Dallas elder law attorney with The Hale Law Firm. To learn more about the Dallas elder law firm and Dallas estate planning, call 972.351.0000 or visit http://www.thehalelawfirm.com/.

The Hale Law Firm
100 Executive Court, Suite 3
Waxahachie, TX 75165
Call: 888.425.3911

View Larger Map