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Estate Planning & Probate Specialists

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Timely trust modifications can avoid family disputes

Houston residents who have created their estate plans might think they have their ducks lined up, but simply creating an estate plan is not the end of the matter. It is very important to periodically review the plan to ensure that it is up to date. A lot might have changed since a trust was created or beneficiaries named, and the estate planning documents may no longer be appropriate. Things change, and so should trusts.

Just creating the trust documents might have been so daunting that reviewing it might seem even more tedious. However, since the main documents are already in place, reviewing it does not have to be a lengthy process. One can start at the table of contents, if there is one. Look at the successor trustees to determine if the appointed people are still alive or trustworthy. Do they get along with the rest of the family or do they cause conflict?

Secondly, disposition on death or disposition on death of surviving spouse should be looked at. This is the paragraph that outlines who gets what should the person die. Does it still make sense-are the named people still alive and can they be trusted with money? Has there been a divorce or have new grandchildren changed the landscape? Additionally, the schedule of the trust assets also needs to be updated-is a new house included in the trust? If marriages have ended or begun, that portion of the trust will need to be updated as well.

It is also important to go over changing estate planning taxes and avail them every year, if applicable. Having an experienced attorney by one’s side to help with trust modification can ease the process and ensure everything is in order again.