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What to remember when updating an estate plan

Estate planning is an ongoing process for New York residents. The initial estate planning documents that are created usually need to be updated every few years to reflect changes to asset values, state residency and family structure. Some people might wish to update their estate plans in order to take advantage of tax saving strategies or modify the list of beneficiaries of their estate.

When a person is updating an existing estate plan, they should take the time to review each estate planning document. In addition to wills and trusts, it may be important to update durable powers of attorney and health care directives. If a person's family structure has changed, it may also be necessary to update life insurance coverage and review beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and financial accounts.

Sometimes a person's estate plan needs to be updated because of changes in the value of the person's assets. A person who has acquired new real estate properties or investments should make sure that these assets are included in their will. If a revocable trust is part of an individual's estate plan, they should make sure that new assets are transferred to the trust.

Many people seek help from an estate planning attorney while they are creating their initial estate planning documents or updating existing documents. An attorney might be of assistance in determining whether an individual's estate would benefit from trusts. Trusts can help some estates to minimize inheritance tax so that heirs will be able to collect a greater portion of their inheritance.

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