Top 10 Reasons to Review Your Estate Plan in 2016

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As the new year begins, now is the time to take stock of your estate plan to make certain it still reflects your wealth disposition as you intend it. There are a number of reasons to evaluate your estate plan to make certain it remains current. Listed below are the Top 10 reasons to have Boznos Law review and consult with you as it relates to your desires going forward:

  1. Have you added or lost a family member?

Families expand and contract through the year. Marriage, divorce, adoption, are just a few of the reasons you need to be concerned. The addition of a family member may cause you to rethink how you want to distribute your assets. Also, a newly added family member may have special needs that should be taken into account.


If you’ve lost a family member due to death or divorce, now is also the time to think about asset redistribution to ensure that you are not making a disposition that doesn’t reflect how your family is currently constituted.


Whether you’ve added or lost a family member, it may also impact who you have designated as an executor, trustee or agent for purposes of health care or property powers of attorney.


  1. Are you newly married or changing from a domestic partnership to a married status?

There are changes in federal and state estate tax laws that could impact you and the way you and your new spouse allocate family assets.


  1. What about life insurance with that new job? If you are starting anew job and are offered life insurance as a benefit, you will need to consider naming the beneficiaries in advance to make certain your desired asset flow is adhered to at the time the policy is paid out.


  1. What about the beneficiary designation of your retirement plan?

All those years of work are going to pay off in a retirement plan if you maintain one from your employer. Or, how about a Roth IRA you’ve set up. Who will benefit if you should pass on early? It is important to coordinate your beneficiaries under these types of plans with your estate plan.


  1. Did you buy or sell any real estate?

What about your primary residence that you so carefully bequeathed in your will to your child(ren)? Or, the vacation home or time share you purchased so that the grandchildren could enjoy it after you were gone? Special consideration should also be given if the real property is outside the State of Illinois.


  1. Did you start or acquire a new business?

There are a number of considerations you need to be aware of. Succession planning is very important and a passing down of a business entity to your loved ones is not to be overlooked. If you own a portion of a business, a smooth transition when you are no longer there needs to be coordinated with your estate plan. Also, from a business perspective, changes may need to be made to the operating documents to ensure that transition happens seamlessly.


  1. There is always the opportunity to make gifts

Making a lifetime gift can be a way to minimize estate taxes and shift wealth to future generations while providing maximum financial security members in the present. You may be able to take advantage of tax free gifting through the annual gift tax exclusion and medical funding opportunities.


  1. It’s been a great yea and the value of your portfolio/assets has increased substantially!

A substantial increase in your portfolio or overall assert structure may be a good reason to review your overall estate plan.


  1. It’s time to establish a Revocable Trust

Depending on the size of your estate, as well as your tax or other considerations, it may be time to establish a revocable trust. There are many advantages to a revocable trust (ease of administration, privacy, avoidance of probate) and the funding of that trust can take many forms.


  1. It’s been years since you dusted off that old Will/Trust

      It is wise to review your estate plan every two to three years. Your desires may have changed. New family members may have entered the picture. Some may have left. Or moved and you need to consider new agents or executors. The laws are always evolving and what may have seemed like sound planning several years ago no longer makes practical or legal sense.


With over 30 years’ experience in advising families and businesses on estate planning issues, such as severance pay, let Boznos Law work with you to ensure you are ready to meet the challenges posed by the ever changing estate planning landscape. Call Bill Boznos today at (630) 375-1958 or contact us through our website at



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