Many estate plans are created and then quickly forgotten. While it’s important to update your plan periodically, after any of these seven life events, it becomes critical that you revise your plan as soon as possible.
- Marriage. Getting married is the joining of two lives together and 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 including him or her in the planning of your estate are all important steps to take after marriage.
- Divorce. Divorce involves a lot of paperwork, and revising and updating your estate plan adds to that. But divorce reflects a change in your legal relationship, so you may want to reconsider what role, if any, your ex-spouse will have in your life and in your estate.
- Births and adoptions. Providing for the care and custody of your child in the event of your death or incapacity should be paramount in your estate plan. That means naming guardians for your new child, both long and short-term, is a must. You should also consider setting up a trust and naming your child as a beneficiary.
- Deaths. Having a loved one die is never easy. And when they were a part of your estate plan, their death should prompt a plan review sooner rather than later. You may need to name new beneficiaries, find a new Power of Attorney, update your health care proxy, or identify new guardians for your children. This should not be put on the back burner.
- Sickness. Becoming seriously ill causes many people to think about what they want at the end of their lives. You may need to draft an advanced directive, create an ethical will, or put any important funerary requests in writing.
- Moving. Moving to a different state can mean you are subject to different laws. Have a lawyer review your estate plan to ensure your documents will hold up in your new state. Some documents may need to be revised and you will certainly want to ensure any new real estate you acquire in your move is accounted for and properly funded to your plan.
- Asset Growth. More money means more problems but only if you don’t plan well. Revisiting your estate plan after experiencing a large gain in assets is essential to preserving and protecting those assets both now and after death.
If you are anticipating or have recently experienced one of these major life events, a revision of your existing estate plan may be in order. Having your own personal family attorney can be invaluable in helping you review – and if necessary adjust – your estate plan to ensure your assets will be protected and your family will be provided for throughout the changes in your life. When you are ready to take that step, we’re here for you.
Dedicated to your family’s health, wealth, and happiness,