Skip Navigation LinksHome / Resource Center / Keep your estate plan up to date

Whoops, we don’t support the browser that you are currently using.

For the best experience, please consider using Firefox Version 28 or newer. We also support Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 11, Microsoft Edge Version 12 or newer, Apple Safari Version 9 or newer, or Google Chrome Version 21 or newer.

You can browse the content of our site using an unsupported browser, but we can’t guarantee the site will work properly. If you want to obtain an online rate quote, calculate your needs online, fill out an application, or access the Account Section, you will need to download a browser that we support. We continually update our website so that it works best with the newer versions of “standard” browsers.

Thank you!


Keep your estate plan up to date
BY STEPHEN P. RICKLES, J.D.

Once you have spent the time, effort and expense of creating an estate plan that meets your goals, it is essential to review it periodically since life changes — including your dental practice assets or the law — may necessitate revisions.

There are numerous changes that could require an update to your estate plan or, just as important, to the beneficiary designations that must be consistent with that estate plan. Some of these changes include:

  • Maturation of children.
  • Birth, death or disability of a family member.
  • Marriage of a child.
  • Change in your financial circumstances.
  • Change in applicable federal or state estate and inheritance tax laws.
  • Acquiring new accounts that require a beneficiary designation, such as life insurance, a company retirement plan or individual retirement account, an annuity contract or a brokerage account.

Often an estate plan is created when children are too young for the parents to yet have a feel for their eventual level of maturity. In such cases, it is common to take a “middle of the road” approach to estate planning, such as setting up trusts for the children that will pay out in several increments over a period of years. It is not unusual for parents to later conclude either that the children are not yet sufficiently mature or financially astute and that giving them access to the estate assets under the schedule set forth in the existing estate plan would be unwise or the children have reached an age or maturity level that makes the use of such a trust unnecessary.

Most good estate plans are written in a sufficiently flexible manner such that the birth of a child or grandchild will not necessitate a change to the estate plan. However, an estate plan entails the naming of people to perform a variety of roles, including personal representative (executor) of the estate, guardians of minor children, trustees of trusts to be created, and agents under both general and medical powers of attorney, as well as successors to such people. The death or disability of a family member may make it important to review and revise the document provisions naming such people.

The prevalence of divorce in our society is often of concern to a parent whose child is getting married. Generally, a trust created by a parent for a child cannot be divided by a court in a divorce proceeding. This may cause a parent to revisit the estate plan and perhaps create trusts where none previously existed for the benefit of children or lengthen the duration of trusts already provided for, including for the lifetime of the child.

A change in your financial circumstances will often make a review of your estate plan prudent. An increase in wealth, whether due to the accumulation of assets resulting from hard work and diligent saving, inheritance or successful investment, may cause a parent to reconsider how and when a child should get access to such assets. A decrease in wealth, particularly as parents age and spend down their assets, may make a simplification of an estate plan drafted in earlier years appropriate.

A common reason for reviewing an estate plan is a change to federal or state estate tax laws. Many estate plans were drafted when the estate tax exemption was low by today’s standards, for example, $1 million, whereas the exemption amount will be $5.6 million in 2018. As a result, the estate planning and the titling of assets that was designed to minimize or eliminate estate taxes may no longer be necessary, and there may well be available alternatives that would be preferable.

The beneficiary designations for assets such as life insurance, retirement plans and individual retirement accounts, annuity contracts and brokerage accounts, which were coordinated with your estate plan when initially drafted, often are not kept up to date or are not properly completed when new accounts are opened. A periodic review of these beneficiary designations is one of the most important means for keeping your estate plan up to date.

Great-West Financial®, issuer of the ADA Members Insurance Plans, is committed to helping you make informed financial decisions. This series on estate planning includes:

Why You Need an Estate Plan
Common Mistakes with Estate Planning and Risk Management
Keeping Your Estate Plan Up to Date
Do You Have All Your Estate Planning Needs Covered?

Mr. Rickles, an estate planning attorney with Spencer Fane LLP, specializes in the preparation of wills and trusts as well as financial and health care powers of attorney, living wills and related documents. He is a member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association and a member of the Tax and Trusts and Estates Sections of the Colorado Bar Association and the Rocky Mountain Estate Planning Council. For more information, email srickles@spencerfane.com.

Mr. Rickles and Spencer Fane, LLP are not affiliated with Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York or their subsidiaries and affiliates.

Rickles SP. Keeping your estate plan up to date. Posted online January 29, 2018 at https://success.ada.org/en/practice-management/dental-practice-success/winter-2018/keeping-your-estate-plan-up-to-date. Copyright ©2018 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

AM686624-1218

Image
Why you need an estate plan
Image
Common mistakes with estate planning and risk management
Image
Do you have all your estate planning needs covered?

Dentists: The information on this website is not a contract. Benefits are provided through a Group Policy Nos. (104TLP Term Life, 1105GDH-IPP Disability Income Protection, 1106GDH-OEP Office Overhead Expense Disability, 104GUL Universal Life, 104LTLP Level Term Life, 1117GH-HIP Hospital Indemnity, 1127GH-CIP Critical Illness, and 1107GH-MCP MedCASHSM) filed in the State of Illinois in accordance with and governed by Illinois law, issued to the American Dental Association by Great-West Financial®. The ADA is entitled to receive royalties from the ADA Members Insurance Plans. Coverage is available to all eligible ADA members in all fifty states and U.S. territories under the aforementioned group policy. Each Plan participant will receive a Certificate of Insurance explaining the terms and conditions of the policy. Level Term Life premiums are fixed based on the selected duration of 10 or 20 years. An insured must maintain ADA membership throughout selected term to remain eligible for insurance. Annually Renewable Term Life, Hospital Indemnity, Critical Illness, and MedCASH premiums increase annually based on age. Recommended premiums under the Term Plus® Universal Life plan consist of the cost of insurance (which may vary based on the member’s age and coverage amount), the amount chosen by the member for deposit into his/her Policy Value Account and a service charge. Premium deposits may fluctuate or remain level depending upon the amount maintained in the Policy Value Account. Disability Income Protection premiums increase every 5 years and Office Overhead Expense every 10 years based on age. Premium credit for Annually Renewable Term Life and Term Plus Universal Life is not guaranteed but reevaluated annually. Premium credit for Disability Income Protection, Office Overhead Expense, Hospital Indemnity, Critical Illness, and MedCASH is not guaranteed but reevaluated semi-annually.


Dental Students: The information on this website is not a contract. Student coverage is issued regardless of your condition if you are under 45. If you are 45 or older, you can apply for the no-cost coverage and all student program features by providing proof of good health. Coverage renews automatically each academic year. Individuals may convert coverage to the plans for practicing dentists after graduation by paying ADA member premiums and maintaining ADA membership. Benefits are not payable, as defined by the respective policy, for death or disability resulting from a sickness, disorder, physical condition, or symptom that existed or was treated within 12 months prior to enrollment. Benefits are provided through a group policy Nos. (104TLP Term Life and 1108GDH-SDP Student Disability) filed in the State of Illinois in accordance with and governed by Illinois law, issued to the American Dental Association by Great-West Financial®. Coverage is available to eligible ADA members in all fifty states and US territories under the aforementioned group policy. Each insured will receive a certificate of insurance explaining the terms and conditions of the policy.


ADA® is a registered trademark of the American Dental Association and Great-West Financial® is a registered trademark of GWL&A.


Effective June 1, 2019, Protective Life Insurance Company (for policies issued outside New York) and Protective Life and Annuity Insurance Company (for policies issued in New York) assumed administrative responsibilities for ADA Members Insurance Plans issued by Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company.


Great-West Financial® is a marketing name of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, Corporate Headquarters: Greenwood Village, CO; Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York, Home Office: NY, NY, and their subsidiaries and affiliates. GWL&A is not licensed in New York, but eligible members residing in New York may apply for coverage under the aforementioned group policy. The trademarks, logos, service marks, and design elements used are owned by Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company. ©2020 Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company. All Rights Reserved. For website issues, contact the Webmaster at ADA_WebMaster@greatwest.com

Top