Continuation of my self-proclaimed Estate Planning Week! This is my third of four posts on estate planning, so read this article and learn. Once you have a complete set of estate plans in place it does NOT mean you are set for life! Life events are cause for review – i.e change in marital status, birth or death of family member, change in net worth, sale of a business, acquisition/start-up of a new business, change in health condition of yourself or a family member/beneficiary, change in tax laws, etc.
On January 10, 2011, Dareh Gregorian (New York Post) reported that Mark Madoff’s will shows that Mark Madoff trusted his “flimflam father,” Bernie Madoff, with “everything” Mark Madoff had. Mark Madoff hanged himself last month.
Mark Madoff named his father as co-executor of his estate, but because Bernie Madoff cannot serve as executor, the sole remaining executor is Andrew Madoff, Mark Madoff’s brother.
The important estate planning lesson that emerges from all of this cannot be underemphasized: estate plans should be updated when circumstances change:
Madoff’s will was signed Nov. 1, 2007 — a little over a year before it was revealed that his father was a world-class con artist who’d duped his investors out of billions of dollars in a decades-long scheme.
Madoff, 46, never amended his will after his father’s downfall, and hanged himself in his SoHo apartment on Dec. 11 — the second anniversary of his dad’s arrest.
There is another problem with Mark Madoff’s estate plan: a trust for his children was never amended to include his 2-year-old son, Nicholas. Dareh Gregorian summarizes the rest of Mark Madoff’s estate plan–Dad’s jail term voids Mark Madoff’s will request.
What circumstances warrant a review of an estate plan?
- Major life events: birth, life, death, marriage, divorce, significant increase in wealth, or any other major life event.
- The law changing.
A major life event certainly includes having someone named in a will convicted of the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history.
Federal wealth transfer laws have changed more than once since December 17, 2010, when President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, P.L. 111-312.
Learn from the mistakes of others. Contact your estate planning practitioner and have your estate plan reviewed.