Let's say you already have an estate plan in place. What are some considerations for when or why you should update your estate plan? Wills, trusts, health care documents, and powers of attorney should not be static documents.
It's a good idea to review your estate plan every two to three years to ensure that your wishes and intentions are still reflected in those documents.
After a major life event has occurred consider how that event impacts your estate plan. Reviewing your estate plan at these key moments ensures that you haven't overlooked anything and that your estate plan remains consistent with your wishes. It is a good idea to review your estate plan at life events such as the following:
If you recently got married, you might want to name your spouse as personal representative, agent for powers of attorney, or trustee for any trusts you might establish.
After a divorce, previous estate planning documents might need to be revised or revoked.
Children or grandchildren
If you welcome a new child into your family, you might want to consider who will be named guardian if both you and your spouse die. Perhaps a minor child is now an adult or you now have grandchildren. Such changes warrant a review of your estate plan.
The Death of a Loved One
The death of a loved one might mean that the deceased, whom you named as a beneficiary, can no longer inherit. Check your will, trust, or other estate planning documents to ensure that the named persons can still inherit.
Financial Status Change
You might have experienced a significant change in the value of your personal assets, business, or real estate. If this is the case, assess your financial status for possible tax planning that needs to occur before your death.
The above examples are not a comprehensive list. Instead, they are ideas that provide a few examples of when reviewing your estate planning documents is a good idea.
Ruth A. Harper
I'm a Pacific Northwest attorney, and my focus is on estate planning and elder law. My interest in these fields grew out of my experience with aging relatives and family members with special needs.
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