Too many estate plans are created and then quickly forgotten, put on a shelf, and never looked at again. While we do recommend that you review and update your plan at least every three years, no matter what happens in your life, it’s time to update your estate plan immediately in the event of any of these seven life events.
Your plan must address and account for your new legal status. Naming your spouse as a beneficiary on your insurance policies, updating your will and/or trust, and including him or her in the determination of how your financial and medical decisions will be made, if you cannot make them for yourself, are all critical steps to take after marriage. This is critically important for blended families when one or both spouses want to be sure they continue to provide for their own children!
When you begin the process of getting divorced, you also must update your estate plan, unless you continue to want your future ex-spouse to receive your assets, and make financial and medical decisions for you, if you cannot. Once your divorce is complete, you may have an entirely new asset profile to plan for and you need to adjust beneficiary designations and titling of assets.
3. Births and adoptions
Providing for the care and custody of your child in the event of your death or incapacity is paramount in your estate plan. Naming guardians for your new child, both long and short-term, with a Kids Protection Plan® is a must. And, if you have not already done so, you’ll definitely want to consider setting up a trust for your child, to receive the assets you will be leaving behind.
The death of a loved one is never easy. And when they were a part of your estate plan, their death should prompt a review of your own plan sooner rather than later. You may need to name new beneficiaries, find a new person to hold Power of Attorney, update your health care directive, or identify new guardians for your children.
If you are in the midst of an illness, you may want to revisit who you have chosen to make medical decisions for you, in the event that you cannot, and how you want those decisions to be made.
When you move to a new State, have a lawyer review your estate plan to ensure your documents will still operate as you desire. Some documents may need to be revised and you will certainly want to ensure any new real estate you acquire in your move is properly accounted for in your plan.
7. New Assets Acquired
More money means more problems, but only if you don’t plan well. Revisit your estate plan each time you change investment accounts, inherit any assets, acquire new property or other investments, or start or sell a business. Most plans fail because they do not take into account all of the assets owned by the person who died.
If you are anticipating or have recently experienced one of these major life events, contact us. It’s time to update your plan. 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.