So you have an estate plan in place? Congratulations! You are off to a great start. However, if you are yet to create one yet, this is the time to hook up with a professional estate planner so you secure your future and loved ones. But, once your estate plan is in place, it is not something that you should lock up in some safe and forget about.
Life’s circumstances change from time to time – and so should your estate plan. As a general rule of thumb, you need to update your estate plan at least every 3 to 5 years or after a major life event. In doing so, you will be ensuring that your estate plan is aligned with your goals as well as the current law.
There are significant life events that should call for an immediate review of your estate plan.
Marriage or divorce
Changes to family dynamics can happen at any time. When they happen, you must revise your estate plan to reflect these changes. For instance, if you have recently tied the knot, you should ensure that your new spouse is included in your estate plan. And when the item of your affection changes, so should you update your estate plan to strip your ex of any powers or entitlements they once had in your estate.
If you have had a baby or adopted one, you must review your estate plan to include them as heirs to your estate. If your new spouse has children from a previous marriage, you may want to revise your estate plan to include your stepchildren. An estate plan will typically include all your children (both biological and adopted) unless you decide to disinherit them.
There are many reasons why you may want to update your estate plan. Failure to update your estate plan after a major life change could lead to your estate ending up in the hands of a beneficiary it is no longer intended for. No matter your reason for updating your estate plan, engaging professional help will ensure that it is valid and that the changes you have made are compliant with existing laws.