So you set up an estate plan? Great! Now, you can forget about it right? Wrong! An estate plan just like anything else in life has to be changed along with major changes in your life. It is highly recommended that people review their estate planning documents every few years or when a significant life change occurs. Keep in mind that as your life changes, so must your estate plan. Here are a few reasons that may make it necessary to update your estate plan.
Harvey and Irma are two of the most costly hurricanes in U.S. history. Conservative estimates for the costs associated with damage caused by hurricane Harvey and Irma are $65 billion and $50 billion respectively. Meanwhile costs for hurricane Irma continue to roll in. Damages or losses to homes and personal property can be devastating to a family’s financial stability and consequently impact their estate plan. If property was damaged or lost during the storm, then your estate plan will have to be updated to reflect those changes.
Is there a new marriage? It is important to change your estate plan to make sure the current spouse is included and not the previous one. You will also want to include children from your previous marriage in either a Living Trust (“Trust”) or Last Will and Testament (“Will”).
Have you moved to a different state? State laws vary widely, so you will want to contact an estate planning attorney in your jurisdiction. An estate planning attorney can help ensure your assets are protected and that those assets will be distributed according to your wishes, based on your state’s laws.
There are countless other reasons why it may be necessary to update your estate plan, which include: a change in your financial situation, your child got married, your child got divorced, a decline in health, a change in the law, and many more. Do not wait to make changes to your estate plan as your life changes because this may result in unintended results for you and your loved ones. Someone who was not intended as a beneficiary may receive your property or someone who you wanted to leave money too is left out. Just as it is important to get a medical check-up every year, an estate planning check-up is also important, so that your assets are protected.