3 Large-Scale Forces That Call For Personal Estate Plan Adjustments

Your estate plan is a liquid document. It can — and should — change over time. Why? Usually, that's because either your own goals and interests or your resources have changed. But these changes may not come from within your own life. They could come from large-scale factors well beyond your personal behavior. Here are a few of these 'big picture' factors that may call for a readjustment of your estate plans. 

1. Economic Changes

Certainly, the overall economic picture in your region and the world at large affect estate planning. If the economy takes a serious downturn, for instance, your assets may not be worth as much as they were before.

A significant upswing in the stock market, on the other hand, may increase your net worth in ways you need to account for — or even do so unevenly. If your estate may reach the threshold for the estate tax, for example, different strategies could keep it under the limit. 

2. Governmental Changes

A change in state or federal government should warrant a realignment of many people's estate plans. Why? First, newly elected leaders often come with changes that affect the economy. That may affect the economy in good ways — such as the reduction of interest rates or the addition of stimulus funding — or in negative ways, as with additional tariffs that affect trade. Your personal finances will be subject to these factors. 

Second, new administrations at the state and federal level may pursue tax changes. For example, an administration may raise or lower thresholds for the estate tax or its tax rate, alter the gift tax exemptions, or change how the basis is calculated for your heirs. Any of these could call for you to adjust your plan in response. 

3. Cultural Changes

Finally, keep in step with cultural and attitude changes. Your kids or grandkids may have different ethical views or social interests than you. Environmentally conscious heirs may not want to inherit oil and gas royalties. They may feel uncomfortable with a portfolio that isn't socially aware. Or they may not be excited about running the family business. You might even have changed your own perspective and goals over the years. 

While you have little or no control over many of these exterior changes, you can keep your estate plans up-to-date to deal with them. The best way to do this is to meet with your estate planning attorney on a regular basis to assess how things are going both within your life and in the larger world around you. Call today to make an appointment with a local estate planning firm, like Abom & Kutulakis LLP.