Estate Planning Mistake: Not Having Your Documents Reviewed Regularly

A lot of people look at Estate Planning as a one-and-done type of event, which is really not the case. Estate Planning should be reviewed at least on an annual basis. Why? Because things change, Laws change, the Family situation changes, your assets may have changes.

Attorney and Financial adviser Chris Berry discuss why you should review your documents regularly in this episode of Daily Wisdom.

Estate Attorney and Advisor Chris Berry of Castle Wealth Group answers questions on retirement and estate planning every Wednesday at 1pm. Register via thisĀ linkĀ or give our office a call at 844-885-4200.

Castle Wealth Group and Christopher Berry help families with estate planning, elder law, retirement planning, and tax planning from their offices in Brighton, Ann Arbor, Livonia, Bloomfield Hills, and Novi.

Castle Wealth Group helps families with their legal, financial, and tax planning for their retirement and legacy.

With the use of legal structures like revocable living trusts, Castle Trusts (asset protection trusts), Chris Berry and Castle Wealth Group can help your family plan, protect, and preserve what is important through their Retirement and Legacy Blueprint Process.


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Episode Transcript

Estate Planning

Hey, this is Chris Berry with Castle Wealth Group. Today, we’re going to talk about the estate planning mistake of not having your documents reviewed on a regular basis. If you like this information, please make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Christopher Berry is a leading estate attorney and advisor in the area of retirement and legacy planning. He has been featured in publications, such as Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Crain’s Detroit, and more. He’s the host of the weekly radio show and podcast, The Chris Berry show. He’s a national thought leader as it relates to retirement and legacy planning and as author of the Amazon best-selling book, The Caregiver’s Legal Guide.

So a lot of people look at estate planning as a one and done type event where maybe someone recommended that they get an estate plan, or they know that they need to kind of adult and put these legal documents together, and they think, “Okay, I’ll download something or I’ll go and get an estate plan and check that box. And now I’m done.” Well, understand that estate planning it’s not a one-and-done type of event. It’s something that should be reviewed at least on an annual basis, just like you do review your taxes or your financial plan because things change. Laws change. So without even looking at someone’s estate plan, if it’s older than 2012, I know that it’s missing key language with regards to financial powers of attorney. It’s older than 2010. It’s missing key language with regards to the change in the Michigan Trust Code.


Secure Act

It’s older than 2004. It’s missing key language with regards to medical directives and that HIPAA authorization that release some medical information. Plus, in 2020, we had the Secure Act that completely changed how retirement accounts are left to the next generation. And depending on how your trust or estate plan is set up, there might be changes necessary because of that change in the Secure Act, so laws are changing. Plus, your family situation is changing. God forbid, someone you named has passed away, or maybe those minor children that when you set up the initial estate plan, you talked about guardianship and who’s going to take care of those kids. Maybe those kids are adults, and maybe now you want to include them in terms of the planning. So your family situation may have changed. Your assets may have changed, and this is something we’ve talked about. Funding your trust, making sure your estate plan is still organized correctly. Because understand, when you pass away, there’s four ways assets transfer out of your name, joint ownership, beneficiary, designation, trust.

And if it doesn’t pass one of those first three ways, it ends up going into probate. And that’s what we want to try to avoid because it’s a court process. It’s time-consuming, and it’s costly. And if we don’t have your trust funded properly, understand that one of those assets may end up going into probate. So when we’re sitting down with clients and we’re doing these annual reviews, as part of our client care program, I’m asking them questions about how is your health? How are the kids? Any changes in the assets? Any changes in family situation? Anyone we need to disinherit? Any questions you have? And then, I educate them on changes in law, changes in tax code, changes in different strategies. And because of all that, when we come together, a lot of times there are changes we need to make to the documents.


One-and-done Type Event

It might be something simple, like changing around the order of agents and a power of attorney or changing beneficiaries. Or it may be something more comprehensive where I just had a call with a client, and his children are getting older, and now he wants to give them the opportunity to serve as successor trustees of his trust if he were to pass away. And he wants to make sure that whatever he leaves to his daughters are protected for their lifetime from divorces, creditors, bankruptcy. So his goals changed from when we initially set up that estate plan. So understand that an estate plan it’s not a one-and-done type event. Think of an estate plan like a parachute. You never know when you’re going to need it. You just want to make sure there’s no holes in it.

And that’s why we’ve developed our Client Care Program to meet with our clients annually, to make sure that if you have set up an estate plan, there’s no holes in that plan. So again, if you haven’t had your estate plan reviewed within the last couple of years, it’s probably time to do that based on either changes in law, like the 2020 Secure Act, or maybe changes in your family situation, changes in your health, changes in your goal, or even changes in your assets. All of those may warrant a change to your estate plan. So this has been Chris Berry with Castle Wealth Group. Thank you so much.

Castle Wealth Group has clients across the nation and helps families plan, protect and preserve what is important by creating a retirement and legacy blueprint.



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