Plans Must be Properly Updated
Even if you put a totally solid estate plan in place, it can end up proving worthless if you do not update your estate plan. Estate planning is not a one-and-done type of deal: It should continuously evolve along with your life circumstances.
No matter who you are, your life will inevitably change: families change, laws change, assets change, and goals change. In the absence of any major life events, we recommend reviewing your plan annually to make sure its terms are up to date.
Yet there are several common life events that require you to immediately update your estate plan—that
Here are 7 reasons to update your estate plan. If any of the following seven events occur, contact us right away.
Marriage not only changes your relationship status,
After getting hitched, some of your most pressing concerns include: naming your new spouse as a beneficiary on your insurance policies and retirement accounts, granting him or her medical power of attorney and/or durable power of attorney (if that’s your wish), and adding him or her to your will and/or trust.
Since divorce can be so overwhelming, estate planning often gets overshadowed by the divorce drama. But failing to update your plan for divorce can have devastating consequences.
Once divorce proceedings start, you’ll need to ensure your future ex is no longer eligible to receive any of your assets or make financial and medical decisions on your behalf—unless that’s your wish. Once the divorce is finalized and your property is divided, you’ll need to update your estate plan to match your new asset profile and living situation.
3. New Addition to Your Family
Welcoming a new addition to your family can be a joyous occasion, but it also demands entirely new levels of planning and responsibility. A new addition to your family could be a new baby, a new adopted child or stepchild or a new grandchild.
At the top of your to-do list should be legally naming both long and short-term guardians for your child. Our Kids Protection Plan offers everything you need to complete this process for free right now.
Once you’ve named guardians, consider putting planning vehicles, such as trusts, in place for your kids. These documents can make certain the assets you want your child to inherit will be passed on in the most effective and beneficial way possible. Consult with us to learn which planning strategies are best suited for your family.
4. Death of a Family Member
The death of a family member, partner, or close friend can have major consequences for both your life and estate plan. If the person was included in your plan, you need to update it accordingly to fill any gaps his or her absence creates. From naming new beneficiaries, executors, and guardians to identifying new heirs to receive assets allocated to the deceased, make sure you address all voids the death creates as soon as possible.
If you inherited property, your plan may need to be updated to reflect the new assets you’ve received.
5. Illness and Injury
As with death, illness and injury are an unavoidable part of being human. If you’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness or are involved in a life-changing accident, you may want to review the people you’ve chosen to handle your healthcare decisions as well as how those decisions should be made. The person you want as your healthcare proxy can change with time, so be sure your plan reflects your current wishes.
After a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness or injury, ensuring you have the right plan in place to provide for your care and your loved ones is critical and often overlooked. We’ll gently help you through the process of planning.
6. You Have Moved To A Different State
Estate planning laws can vary widely from state to state. If you have moved to a different state, you’ll need to review and/or revise your plan to comply with that State’s legal requirements. Some plans and documents are easier to move from State to State. Consult with us to make sure your plan will still work exactly as you desire in your new location.
7. A Change in Assets or Liabilities
A change in your assets or liabilities can make a dramatic impact on your overall estate plan. If you have won the lottery or increased your assets significantly, you should revisit your plan to ensure it still offers the maximum protection and benefits for yourself and your loved ones. Whether you inherit a fortune, take out a new loan, close your business, or change your investment portfolio, your plan should be adjusted accordingly. If you have incurred a lot of debt, that, too, can dramatically affect your estate plan. Let’s talk to ensure you have the protections you need!
You Can Count on Us
You can count on us – your Personal Family Lawyer® – to ensure your estate plan is regularly reviewed and updated at all times. In fact, we have built-in processes to make sure this happens—be sure to ask us about them.
Rather than looking at the review process as yet another task you have to accomplish, we view it as a meaningful ritual that lets you see where your family has been and where you plan to go. However you look at it, a regular review will put you at ease, knowing your family is protected and provided for no matter what happens. Contact us today to schedule your review.
This article is a service of Susan L. Hunt, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, ™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.