Creating an estate plan is crucial to protecting your assets and family after you are gone. However, you must also update your will and other estate planning documents as your life changes.
Numerous situations call for a review of your estate plan to make certain it continues to meet your needs. Here are a few of those instances and why you should be diligent about making updates when needed.
New marriage or divorce
Most people leave a large portion of their assets to their spouse. Accordingly, you must be sure to update documents after getting married or divorced. Failure to do so can leave your new spouse without essential assets should the unthinkable happen. It can also result in a former spouse getting a large share of your estate, which is likely not the desired outcome.
The birth or adoption of a child
Wills not only handle the transfer of your assets. They can also protect minor children in your care by allowing you to name a guardian. This person will assume responsibility for child care in case you and your spouse are no longer available. While the court will name a guardian in the best interest of the child, most parents would rather make the decision on their own.
Concerns about a beneficiary
Leaving money to a loved one can help them pursue their goals and manage their finances efficiently. However, if one of your heirs has developed a substance abuse issue or some other problem, their inheritance can end up doing more harm than good. In this case, consider altering your estate plan to include a trust. Trusts give you more control over the terms of an inheritance. For example, you can require the recipient to attend substance abuse counseling before they receive the funds.
Even if no major life change has occurred, you should still review your estate plan every three to five years. If you believe your estate plan is in need of an update, please contact our law firm for more information.