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Updating estate planning documents in Arkansas is essential

It's great when people take the time to plan their estates. It's not so great when estate planning ends there. Leaving an estate plan drafted in Arkansas unattended for years as life circumstances change may be just as detrimental as not having a plan at all. Federal estate tax laws were given an overhaul with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, allowing individual gifts over a lifetime of more than $11 million for singles and double for couples.

It's a good idea to revisit estate planning documents when tax laws change, but that's not the only reason. Wills should be updated when circumstances change and perhaps there is a need for a new executor or maybe a beneficiary has died. Whatever the reasons, wills should be updated every so often. If estate documents contain provisions regarding the guardianship of children and children are now adults, that too should be changed. Updates should also happen if changes in guardianship are warranted or desired.

If a testator wishes to incorporate a trust for children, but the estate plan doesn't make mention of a trust, that also should be updated. Along with tax changes that affect estate plans, the particulars around gifting have also been revamped. As noted, the ability to make lifetime gifts has also doubled. There are many pluses to gifting, but they may create complications for the recipient.

These are the sorts of issues that can be clarified by an experienced Arkansas estate planning attorney. A lawyer can further explain why documents in an estate plan should be dusted off occasionally. He or she can help a testator to renew an aging estate plan. 

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