Many people in New Jersey who have created an estate plan might feel good about having their affairs in order. This is reasonable, yet this feeling should not allow them to assume that they are completely done with this activity. An estate plan should be considered a living entity that needs to be reviewed as changes occur in their lives or the lives of those in their plan. 

Some people make it a point to review their will or trust on an annual basis, such as at the end or start of each year. Others may choose to update it only when a big change takes place. Forbes explains that any number of events may necessitate a plan review. These include personal or relationship changes like divorce, death, birth or adoption, that materially change the people one might wish to include as heirs. 

If an executor or trustee becomes seriously ill, it may be prudent to name a new person to this role. When doing this, it is also wise to identify a new alternate executor or trustee. 

Major changes to a person’s assets, whether from an inheritance, income increase, investment return or some other factor, also make it appropriate to update an estate plan. For people wishing to incorporate charitable giving into their estate plan, an understanding of the new tax laws will also be important. For any plan put in place prior to the new tax code being implemented, reviewing the terms is a must as the updated tax laws have substantially changed how charitable donations are addressed and taxed. 

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