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Caring For Generations

How Often Should You Change the Oil in Your Estate Plan?

On Behalf of | Jul 16, 2015 | Uncategorized

“Dirty oil just doesn’t do the job as well as fresh oil does,” explains Deanna Sciar in Auto Repair for 

Dummies. “By changing your oil frequently, you may get twice the mileage out of an otherwise good engine,” Sciar adds.

How frequently should oil changes take place?  Some manufacturers suggest every 7,500 miles, but as Sciar points out, that’s based on “optimum” operating conditions.  Most of us do a lot of stop-and-go driving in city and rush-hour traffic, make short trips every day, and don’t often get up to high speeds on a highway.  Your car engine rarely gets hot enough to evaporate the crankcase water that builds up engine sludge.

Estate plans need updating, too, as the estate planning professionals at Geyer & Associates often remind clients.  How often?

“Regular” maintenance of an estate plan might take place every five years or so, according to a Forbes article about redoing wills. However, as is true of automobiles, that’s based on “no-situation-changes optimum operating conditions”, rarely a reality of family life.

There are two general reasons estate plans call for modification:

1. Changes in the income tax or gift and estate tax laws have taken place.  (In this Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog, we’ll be alerting you to news about proposed and actual law changes.)

2.  Changes have taken place in your life, including:

  • Marriage or divorce (you or your children or other heirs)
  • Changes in a non-marital committed relationship
  • Death of an heir
  • Changes in your financial situation
  • Health changes (for you or for an heir)
  • New charitable interests
  • Age milestones (particularly as relating to retirement plans and IRAs)

Just as you get more mileage out of a car engine by keeping up with oil changes, your estate plan can do its best job when you keep it updated! 

– by Corinna of Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates