Taking the time to create an estate plan can help the people you love have financial protection if something tragic happens. However, it can be a big mistake to presume that your estate planning needs just disappear after you create your initial estate plan or create a will.
The truth is that you may need to adjust your existing documents when your life circumstances change. The following four situations are among the most common reasons why people need to revisit and update their existing estate plan.
You got married or divorced
Your spouse has statutory rights to an inheritance if you die. You will also likely want to make sure that they have the resources they need to take care of themselves if anything happens to you. When your marital status changes, many of your documents may need to change as well to add or remove that person.
Someone named in your documents died
Maybe you named your brother in your power of attorney but he passed away unexpectedly. Perhaps your family lost another member you had intended to leave property to when you die. When a beneficiary or someone empowered in your estate planning documents passes away, you will likely need to update the documents to remove them.
Someone new joined your family
Maybe you recently welcomed a new member to your family through birth or adoption. Perhaps your children have had children and you would like to leave something for your grandkids. When your family grows and starts to include new members, you may need to revisit how you plan to distribute your property to include them.
You acquired or lost substantial property
Maybe you inherited something from your parents or recently purchased a second home. When you add substantial assets to your holdings or you lose property, you may need to update your documents to address those assets or remove your instructions.
It is also usually a good idea to periodically review your estate plan with your attorney just to see if it could benefit from some minor changes or updates. By staying on top of your estate plan, you help protect yourself and the people you love.