Your estate plan focuses on what happens when you die. It also serves other purposes, such as looking after you if you fall into ill health, but your death is typically the main focus.
You cannot predict when you will die, so it is essential to get an estate plan made soon if you do not already have one. You also cannot predict when others will die, and the death of some people will require you to alter your estate plan.
Your executor, powers of attorney and children’s guardian
If you fall severely ill or die, these people have prominent roles to play. Consider naming a backup option when you first choose them. If not, ensure you replace them when they pass away.
Your spouse or partner
Many of your spouse’s assets would pass to you, requiring you to update your estate plan to pass them on when you die.
They may leave some assets directly to their chosen beneficiaries which can cause complications if, for instance, the house you live in was theirs. Their heirs may want to turf you out straight away so they can move in or sell it.
You also need to review any assets for which they were your designated beneficiary. Also, check how any entitlements to benefits or health care insurance change with their death.
Hopefully, your kids outlive you, but it does not always happen. You would need to redistribute any assets you intended to leave them. It might also cause you to rethink your plans for old age if you assumed they would be there to look after you.
Finding out more about the role of others in your estate plan can help you keep it current.