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When should you update your Living Trust and Will

Posted by Maria N. Jonsson | Jun 20, 2023 | 0 Comments

Despite popular belief, Estate Planning is not a one-and-done project. To be truly effective, your estate planning documents should reflect your changing circumstances which needs your attention on an ongoing basis.

Changes in laws, in family dynamics, in your net worth, in the composition of your property, grown/married children, all give rise to an update of your documents. Your Trust might need an update if, since the last time it was updated, there a change to:

  • Real property interests – buying, selling, inheriting; being a beneficiary of a promissory note (the Trust should be named as the note beneficiary);
  • Bank accounts – opening/closing, inherited rollovers, death of designated beneficiaries, divorce;
  • Digital assets – airline miles, credit card rewards, cryptocurrency, etc. – should all be assigned to your Trust (are they?);
  • Life Insurance – new employer-sponsored policy? New private policy? Death of a named beneficiary? Your life insurance should list your Trust as the beneficiary;
  • Retirement assets – pensions, 401(k) rollovers, IRAs, SEP IRAs, inherited IRAs, etc.
  • Business interests – registering / dissolving a Corporation or LLC, or being a fractional owner of a Corp or LLC – all such business interests should be assigned to your Trust;
  • Inheritance – receiving real property or financial assets via inheritance may necessitate setting up a Separate Property Trust of a Married person, or a living Trust, if you are unmarried;
  • Marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a spouse, death of a named Trustee / Executor / Power of Attorney / Health Agent will require a revision of your documents;
  • Do you have a child who has recently turned 18? They are now an adult – and you, as the parent, can no longer make medical decisions or receive medical information about your child, not even in a medical emergency. Your child would need to sign an Advance Health Directive naming you as their Agent, and permitting you to continue to do so;
  • Change in your outlook on end-of-life decisions – does your Health Directive correctly reflect your current outlook about termination of life support, organ donation, burial/cremation?
  • Updating the structure of a family living trust is especially true for estates that approach the threshold for being subject to federal estate taxes (with top rate of 40%). Such estates may need to implement strategies to move assets out of the taxable estate by setting up trusts to own life insurance contracts, and implement charitable planning or gifting.

Estate planning is not a one-and-done project. It requires an ongoing effort to ensure your documents reflect your life and asset changes. An obsolete estate plan is a dangerous thing; it is a recipe for litigation and in-fighting between family members.

At the Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC we stand at the ready to review your existing estate plan in detail with you, analyze and explain its terms and make recommendations as well as implement needed revisions. Call us today for a comprehensive Estate Planning Review consultation. There is a nominal consultation fee for this in-depth analysis and legal advice on how to update your estate plan, which is well worth the peace of mind you will gain following such review.

Visit our website at to schedule a consultation from our home page, or call us at (424) 383-8445 – our representatives are available seven days a week to speak with you and schedule your consultation with Attorney Maria N. Jonsson, Esq.

About the Author

Maria N. Jonsson

Founding Attorney and a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization


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Attorney Maria N. Jonsson, Esq. is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. The Law Offices of Maria N. Jonsson, PC is committed to providing a comprehensive and holistic analysis of your specific circumstances as they relate to Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration issues in California. Schedule a one-on-one discussion of your case with Attorney Jonsson directly.