As you and your family grow, your needs change. And as your needs change, you should revisit and update your estate plan accordingly.
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Continue reading our guide to learn how often you need to update your estate plan.
When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?
You should personally review your estate plan often to make sure that it is still an accurate reflection of your wishes. It’s difficult to provide a guideline, but some people review their plans yearly or several times throughout the year. For example, some individuals might review their estate plan whenever they go over their finances.
The general idea is to review the plan to see if your wishes have changed, if some outside factor has changed the plan or if a change in your property ownership has altered the plan. You may not need to make significant changes to your plan unless a major life event happens. If you feel you need to revise your plan, consult with an estate planning attorney.
Reasons You Might Revise Your Estate Plan
Here are some major life events that might necessitate revising your plan.
Getting Married or Divorced
Typically, a spouse is a focal point of your estate plan. If you either add a spouse through marriage or lose a spouse through divorce, substantial changes to your estate plan will probably be needed.
After you get married, lots of changes happen. Depending on your situation, you can combine your finances with your spouse. You can factor your new combined income into your estate plan. Additionally, you might want to make your spouse a beneficiary, executor of your estate, or other important roles.
Going through a divorce also warrants a change in your estate plan. For example, you’ll likely want to remove your ex-spouse from your estate plan. Most of the changes you made after you got married will probably have to be undone.
Having a child is a significant life event that requires much planning before and after the baby is born. Once you have a child, you must consider several aspects of estate planning, such as wills, trusts, and beneficiaries.
Buying a House or Other Major Financial Changes
Buying a house is a major investment. Once you purchase property, you need to include it in your estate plan. Namely, you need to decide what will happen to your property when you die or if you become incapacitated.
You should also consider any other significant financial changes in your estate plan. For example, if you get a hefty raise, you may want to reallocate some of your assets in your plan.
While these are common reasons why you might change your estate plan, here are some other motives that might warrant an updated plan:
- Illness or disability of you or your spouse
- Receiving a large gift or inheritance
- A new family member, such as stepchildren or adopted children
- Changing beneficiaries if someone dies or a relationship changes
- Starting or selling a business
- Tax changes
Remember that this is a partial list of examples; there are many other reasons you might want or need to update your current plan. If you need to revise your plan, consult an estate planning attorney.
Contact The Law Offices of Brenton C. McWilliams Today
Whether you need assistance with creating, implementing, or updating your estate plan, The Law Offices of Brenton C. McWilliams can help. You can rely on us to help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that best suits your needs. If you want to start estate planning, contact our firm to schedule your consultation.