An estate plan is not a static document but a dynamic one that should evolve as your life changes. As our friends at Silverman Law Office, PLLC, a team of proficient estate planning attorneys, often advise, regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan is crucial to ensure it always reflects your current wishes and circumstances.
Major Life Events
Marriage Or Divorce
One of the most common reasons to update an estate plan is a change in marital status. If you get married, you may want to include your spouse in your estate plan. Conversely, in the case of a divorce, it’s essential to revise your plan to reflect this change in your life. This might include changing beneficiaries, executors, or power of attorney designations.
Birth Or Adoption Of A Child
The arrival of a new family member is a joyous occasion and a critical time to update your estate plan. You’ll want to include provisions for your child’s guardianship, care, and financial support in the event something happens to you.
Death Of A Beneficiary Or Executor
If a beneficiary or executor named in your estate plan passes away, it’s important to update your documents to reflect this. Failing to do so can lead to complications and potential disputes among surviving family members.
Significant Increase Or Decrease In Assets
Changes in your financial situation, such as receiving an inheritance, acquiring property, or experiencing a significant loss in assets, should prompt a review of your estate plan. These changes can affect how you want your assets to be distributed and managed.
Starting Or Selling A Business
If you start, buy, or sell a business, your estate plan should be updated to reflect these significant financial changes. This ensures that your business interests are properly handled and transitioned according to your wishes.
Changes In Laws
Estate planning laws can change, and what was a sound strategy a few years ago might not be the best approach today. Regular reviews with an attorney can ensure your plan complies with current laws and takes advantage of any new tax benefits or legal opportunities.
As you age or if your health status changes, revisiting your estate plan is wise. This might include updating your living will or health care power of attorney to reflect your current health care preferences.
Even if no significant changes occur, it’s a good practice to review your estate plan periodically. Professionals recommend reviewing your plan every three to five years to ensure it still aligns with your goals and wishes.
Life is unpredictable, and your estate plan should be flexible enough to adapt to changes. Regular updates ensure that your wishes are honored and your loved ones are taken care of according to your most current intentions. Consulting with an attorney can provide peace of mind, knowing your estate plan is up-to-date and as effective as possible. Remember, an updated estate plan is one of the most valuable legacies you can leave for your family.