The 19 D’s Triggering Revision of Estate Planning Documents

Friday, June 30th, 2023

“When to Consider Revisions to Your Estate Planning Documents”

{originally published by unknown}

  1. Death — Not yours, but the death of a beneficiary, an executor, a trustee, a guardian, or one who holds your power of attorney.
  2. Disability — same considerations as death
  3. Decline — Although not as serious as disability, your own declining mental or physical health, as well as that of others, should be noticed and watched.
  4. Disaffection — This is when you no longer wish to provide benefits or entrust someone to serve as an executor, trustee, guardian, or agent under power of attorney.
  5. Disappearance — This is disaffection on steroids. If you lose touch with the executor, etc., then the person is considered missing and must be replaced.
  6. Domestication — If you plan to get married, or actually do get married, in Texas you and your spouse will be subject to the community property system. The results could be surprising. Consider an agreement in contemplation of marriage.
  7. Divorce Pending — Do you really want your estranged spouse to make medical decisions for you or inherit your assets if you die while the divorce is pending ?
  8. Divorce Finalized — You might want to end all benefits and appointments in favor of your spouse after you are divorced. There are statutes that attempt to do this for you, but they are not self-executing, and you may end up back in court to claim those benefits.
  9. Death Taxes — They are not going away, and the “tax free amount” could decrease or even increase, and that could complicate or simplify your situation.
  10. Designation — If your generosity is redirected to another person, you should change beneficiary designations for life insurance, 401K plans, individual retirement accounts, etc., to reflect current choices.
  11. Distrust — Lack of trust is the best reason to change trustees, executors, and those who hold powers of attorney.
  12. Dissipation — When a beneficiary has been identified as a spendthrift, benefits should be under the control of a trustee.
  13. Drugs— Special planning is required for a beneficiary who has problems related to illegal drug use, abuse of prescription drugs, or abuse of alcohol. Gifts to those beneficiaries also should be under the control of a trustee.
  14. Descendants — Although the welcoming of a child or grandchild is an event to celebrate, if a child or grandchild is placed for adoption or is born out of wedlock, special drafting may be required
  15. Domestic Partner — Consider whether benefits should be given or withheld from your partner or the partner of another family member or beneficiary, and if given, the appropriate method for doing so.
  16. Disaster — A fire, a flood, a tornado, or a hurricane could destroy an asset of particular value and cause an imbalance in benefits among beneficiaries.
  17. Decimation — The collapse of the stock market, for example, could impact a will that designates gifts of large amounts of cash or a valuable property to one person and result in very little for other beneficiaries.
  18. Deportation — With immigration “reform” uncertain, the unanticipated deportation of a trusted employee, caregiver, or proposed executor could disrupt your plans.
  19. Disposition — We’re talking here about your mortal remains and the need for instructions if you have a particular method in mind.