July 28, 2009
Lately I have been reviewing several estate plans to make suggestions for revising or updating them. Although I do this on a regular basis, many of the recent reviews have centered around estate plans that have not been updated in over 5 years. This may not sound like a long time, but you would be surprised what can change in that timeframe. One example is a plan that has not been updated in over 10 years. A lot has changed in Michigan law in the past 10 years, not the least of which is the enactment of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC) – the replacement for the Revised Probate Code (RPC). This is the law that covers estates and other related matters. All the references to law in this particular estate plan were to the old RPC. Needless to say, my first suggestion was to update the documents to reference current law. Additionally, EPIC gave some additional planning flexibility, such as recognition of a written list of tangible personal property.
The long and short of it is – review your estate plan on a regular basis. Changes in life and law can have a dramatic effect on your plan and how it is carried out after your death. Consider reviewing/updating your estate plan every 3-5 years and when there is any significant change in your life situations (marriage, divorce, birth, death, asset changes, etc.).