Contact Us Today! (949) 305-8642


"New Year, New Estate Plan: Making Sure Your Wishes Are Up To Date Before its Too Late"

Posted by James Burns | Dec 14, 2023 | 0 Comments


Hello there! As we welcome in another New Year, it's a brilliant time to think about fresh starts. One aspect of our lives we often overlook is our estate plan. Whether you're in sunny Aliso Viejo, the bustling heart of Orange County, or anywhere else in lovely California, keeping your estate plan up to date is crucial. This blog will guide you through understanding why and how to update your estate plan, ensuring your wishes are respected no matter what the future holds.

Importance of an Estate Plan

What exactly is an estate plan, you ask? Simply put, it's a set of instructions that explains how your assets should be handled after you're no longer here. It's not just for the wealthy; everyone in Aliso Viejo and beyond needs an estate plan. Think of it as a roadmap for your loved ones, outlining your wishes and making things simpler for them during a difficult time. In Britain, we often say, “Better safe than sorry,” and that certainly applies here!

Estate planning is not just about distributing assets; it's about peace of mind, control, and making sure your legacy is handled as you desire. Whether you're looking after a small condo or home in Aliso Viejo or a sprawling estate in the wider Orange County, your plan is your voice after you've gone. It's especially crucial for those with young families or significant assets.

Changes That Require Updating Your Estate Plan

Life is full of surprises, isn't it? Major life events like marriage, divorce, the arrival of a new baby, or the loss of a loved one can significantly impact your estate plan. For instance, if you've recently moved to Orange County or purchased a new home in California, it's time to update your plan. Financial changes, like receiving an inheritance or starting a business, are also key moments to review your wishes. And let's not forget about legal changes – laws governing estates can evolve, and staying current is essential.

Imagine, for example, you've just welcomed a grandchild in Aliso Viejo or another city in Orange County. Wouldn't you want to ensure they're taken care of in your estate plan? Or perhaps you've divorced and need to update your beneficiaries. These life changes are crucial triggers for a review.

Changes That Require Updating Your Estate Plan


1.      Old Trust Structures: If you have an older A/B trust arrangement, particularly common in places like Aliso Viejo, California, you might find that the surviving trustee faces strict and often cumbersome access rules. These outdated provisions can severely limit the survivor's ability to utilize funds effectively. Updating these trusts can provide much-needed flexibility and reflect current tax laws.

2.      Adapting to Tax Law Changes: Tax laws evolve, and what was once optimal for Orange County residents might now be outdated. It's crucial to align your estate plan with the most recent tax regulations to ensure maximum benefits for your heirs.

3.      Updated Guardianship Choices: Life changes might lead you to reconsider your choice of guardians for your minor children. Regularly updating this part of your estate plan is vital to ensure their care aligns with your current wishes.

4.      Healthcare Directives: Changes in health or medical preferences necessitate a review of your healthcare directives. It's important for Californians to ensure these directives accurately reflect their current healthcare wishes.

5.      Changes Due to Business Ownership: Starting or selling a business in Orange County can greatly impact your estate. Updating your plan to include business assets ensures clear management or succession plans are in place.

6.      Beneficiary Circumstances Alterations: Life changes for your beneficiaries, such as marriages, divorces, or financial troubles, may prompt a reassessment of how you've allocated your estate.

7.      Wealth or Asset Increases: An increase in assets or wealth, through investments or property appreciation, can change the landscape of your estate plan, especially in dynamic markets like Aliso Viejo.

8.      Relocation Implications: Moving in or out of California can impact your estate plan due to different state laws. Ensuring compliance with local laws is crucial.

9.      Evolving Charitable Interests: If your philanthropic interests have shifted or expanded, updating your estate plan to include these new charitable goals is important.

10.  Digital Assets and RUFADAA Compliance: In California, the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) governs access to digital assets. In California, the Revised Uniform Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) governs the management and inheritance of digital assets. This includes everything from social media accounts to digital currencies and online business interests. For residents of Aliso Viejo and Orange County, it's crucial to ensure your estate plan includes language that grants authority to your trustee or executor to manage these digital assets. Failing to do so can result in complications and potential loss of these assets upon your passing.

Updating your trust or will to comply with RUFADAA involves designating a digital executor and clearly outlining the extent of their powers. This might include access to, management of, or even the deactivation of online accounts and digital properties. Considering the increasing importance of digital assets in our lives, this update is crucial for a comprehensive estate plan in today's digital age.

As you can see, there are numerous reasons why you might need to update your estate plan. Whether it's due to personal life changes, shifts in financial status, or new laws like California's RUFADAA, staying current with your estate planning ensures that your assets are managed and distributed according to your true wishes. This is particularly relevant for residents of Aliso Viejo and the wider Orange County area, where diverse assets and dynamic lifestyles are common.

Regular reviews and updates of your estate plan, with the help of a knowledgeable attorney, can provide peace of mind and security for both you and your loved ones, now and in the future.

How to Update Your Estate Plan

Now, updating your estate plan might sound like a daunting task, but it's quite straightforward with professional help. In Orange County, at the Law Office of James Burns our attorneys specialize in guiding you through this process. They'll help you review your current plan, make necessary changes, and ensure your new plan reflects your current wishes and circumstances. It's a bit like having a yearly check-up but for your estate!

Conclusion and Call to Action

As we've seen, keeping your estate plan up to date is a vital part of managing your affairs, especially in the dynamic environment of Aliso Viejo and the broader Orange County region. It ensures that your assets are managed exactly how you wish and provides peace of mind for both you and your loved ones.

If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by this, don't fret. The Law Office of James Burns is here to help you every step of the way. With expertise in California's estate laws and a friendly approach, we make updating your estate plan as easy as a stroll through the beautiful parks of Aliso Viejo. Don't put it off any longer; give us a ring today and start the New Year with confidence and clarity. Your future self will thank you!

Contact Us:

  • Law Office of James Burns
  • (949) 305-8642
  • Serving Aliso Viejo, all of Orange County, and all of California

About the Author

James Burns

Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Business and Real Estate Transactions, nutraceutical Law and franchising:


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment