Has Your Will or Trust Passed Its Expiration Date?

will or trust expiration date

When I pulled out a bottle of salad dressing from the back of my refrigerator the other day, my wife told me I better check the expiration date.  The label told me that I should have thrown it out back in March of 2022.

Many things we rely on have specific expiration dates that require action on our part.  Driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, passports, credit cards, memberships all have to be renewed on or before a specific date.  We are given ample warning of the specific date these things expire, so we know we have to deal with this deadline.  If we miss the deadline, these things are no longer of any use.

Wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other estate planning documents do not have such specific expiration dates.  So, there does not come a time when your will or trust goes from being valid on a Monday to invalid on Tuesday.  But just because these documents are valid does not mean they have any value.  This is because while your will or trust may have suited your circumstances and purposes when you signed it five or ten or twenty years ago, that may not be the case today.

Even worse, we have seen situations where, due to tax law changes, people have died with wills and trusts prepared prior to 2017 who would have been better off if they had died without a will.  In other words, having a valid but inappropriate document can do more harm than good.

There are many reasons that the documents you prepared several (or many) years ago may no longer be suitable for achieving your objectives, including:

  • Significant changes in the tax laws
  • Your children have grown up
  • People you named to serve as executor, guardian or trustee are no longer the best choice for the job
  • The value of your estate has grown
  • Your family has experienced births, deaths, marriages, divorces, illnesses, etc.

If your estate planning documents no longer accomplish your objectives, then it really can be said that they have “expired.”  If so, they need to be “renewed.”

The danger is that you will not be confronted with a NOTICE OF EXPIRATION, so you will have to set your own deadline for reviewing your documents to make sure they still “fit” you and your loved ones.  If they don’t, our office can help you renew your plan by modifying your documents so that your objectives will be achieved.

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Our Initial Estate Planning Consultation is designed to give you the opportunity to find out about our firm, our approach to estate planning, and to help you decide if our services fit your needs and objectives. It is also designed to give you all of the information you need in order to determine what planning is right for you and your family.

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