Putting off estate planning is a common practice. Not many people want to think about when they die. When you do finally work up the mental tenacity to address your legacy, you might assume that the process is done once you commit your intentions to writing. However, the truth is that your estate plan or last will shouldn’t just be something you take care of once and then forget.
You want to have the terms you include be as up-to-date as possible. That helps reduce the likelihood of anyone challenging your wishes during the administration of your estate. Taking the time to review your estate plan every few years can also give you peace of mind, as you will be certain that you have addressed everything that currently matters to yourself and your family.
Your family is going to change as the years go on
Having a family is usually one of the reasons people want to create an estate plan or last will in the first place. They want to make sure that the people who depend on them will have protections and resources if something happens. Naming a guardian for your children is often as important as allocating specific assets for them.
However, the size of your family could change over the years. Your children may become adults. They will have their own children, to whom you may also want to leave something. In some cases, people whom you named as beneficiaries could potentially die. They could also no longer be part of your life, whether through a social falling out or something more traumatic, like a divorce.
Reviewing your last will or estate plan frequently helps ensure that the beneficiaries, executors, administrators, heirs and trustees that you named are all individuals with whom you maintain a positive relationship.
Your estate and assets will change and grow over time
When you first create your estate plan, a basic last will may be the only document you really worry about. However, as your life becomes more complex and your assets do, too, you will need to be more mindful of how you structure your estate plan. You will need to consider whether assets will pass to your spouse or directly onto children.
You could also use assets to fund a trust which can shelter your family from taxes and also provide more control over the disbursement of your assets. There are many smart ways to handle an estate plan.
Your personal wishes and needs may change as years pass
You will likely expand your estate plan as you grow older. From advance medical directives that give your family members insight into your medical wishes to power of attorney documents that ensure people can handle your financial and medical matters, there are many documents included in a thorough estate plan that you will want to add or expand as you age.
Just because you felt one way when you were younger doesn’t mean you will feel the same way later in life. Routinely reviewing your last will and estate plan helps ensure that it is accurate and up-to-date in terms of your assets and intentions. Call or email our firm to change your estate plan as necessary, to benefit you and the people you love.