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Is it time to take a fresh look at your estate plan?

Does it sometimes seem like timing suggestions apply to virtually everything?

Regularly scheduled dental checkups, for instance. Annual physicals. Vehicle oil changes every 5,000 miles. Furnace filter replacement every 90 days. The list goes on seemingly indefinitely.

And it encompasses estate planning, with articles and analyses on that subject matter often stressing periodic review and updating.

Should you haul out the plan you spent so much time and effort working on and revisit its details at least once annually? Once every five years? Only when your spouse berates you for unflagged inattention that has lasted a decade or more?

Most pundits on the topic of estate administration recommend -- and soundly so, we believe at the business and estate planning law firm of Gottschlich & Portune in Dayton -- that a plan be dusted off and reviewed whenever a so-called "major" change involving family and/or finances occurs.

That might mean a family addition via a birth, adoption or remarriage. Conversely, a death could require some plan adjustments. So too might the sale of a family business, an inheritance, health changes and additional things.

Coupled with internal changes affecting a family are newly enacted state and federal laws that occasionally crop up and have instant relevance for some planners. A recent article on why right now could be an optimal time for updating an estate plan stresses just such a scenario.

What that media focus specifically references is new tax treatment that now governs exemptions on estate taxes due upon death or transfer. Notably, the exemption just doubled for a married couple, from $11 million to slightly more than $22 million. Although the change obviously doesn't impact legions of families, it certainly does affect some and require timely plan adjustments.

Effective and well-tailored estate planning properly addresses many integrated facets of family financial life, health, charitable giving, legacy concerns and more. Although planners will understandably differ on their assessments of how often plan details must be tinkered with, the bottom line is that no executed plan can remain forever relevant without periodic input.

An experienced estate planning attorney can help guide that process.

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