An estate plan is crucial if you want to protect your assets and ensure that your loved ones and the endeavors that you care about are adequately supported. But a lot of people find it challenging to create an estate plan. Some fear the thought of their own mortality, while others just put it low on their list of priorities, never seeming to get to it.
Those who create an estate plan often breathe a sigh of relief, but even then, the work is not necessarily done. This is because you should think of your estate plan as ever evolving, based on the realities of your life today. That is why it is wise to revisit your estate plan from time to time to determine if it continues to meet your needs.
When to modify your estate plan
Although reviewing your estate plan periodically can be helpful, there are some key life events that should trigger you to revisit your plan and make changes accordingly. Here are some of them:
- The birth of a child, at which point you may want to name that child in your will or as a beneficiary of a trust.
- Either your own divorce or the marriage dissolution of a child or grandchild. In these instances, you’ll probably want to revise your estate planning documents to ensure that the former spouse in question doesn’t inherit anything from you.
- Your own marriage or the marriage of a loved one. Here, you will want to scrutinize your estate plan to determine if you want to include the new spouse in your inheritance scheme. If so, you will need to add them appropriately. If not, you will want to make sure that your estate planning documents clearly indicate that they will not inherit from you.
- The death of a loved one who was named in your estate plan. Here, you will want to revise relevant documents to ensure that your assets will flow to the correct individuals.
- Changed relationships. If you have a falling out with a loved one, you might want to cut them out of your estate plan. On the other hand, if you grow close to someone over time, you may want to revise your estate plan to make that individual a bigger part of it.
- Someone you named as an executor or trustee is no longer appropriate. Maybe you feel like the named individual is no longer able to fulfill the duties of the role, or perhaps the individual has voiced concern about acting in that capacity. Either way, you may need to make changes to your estate plan to ensure that your and your estate’s interests are protected.
- You acquire new assets. If you acquire new assets, particularly if it’s something of significant value, you will want to look at your estate plan again to determine if you need to specifically address that asset.
Be detailed in assessing your estate plan
We understand that to some people, estate planning can seem cumbersome. But it is critical if you want to protect your assets and your loved ones. To successfully navigate the process, though, you’ll need to pay attention to the details and understand how to apply the law to your set of circumstances.
Fortunately, attorneys who are experienced in this area of the law stand ready to assist you. So, if you’re looking for assistance in creating or modifying your estate plan, now may be the time to reach out to a law firm that seems like a good fit for you and your circumstances.