If as of today you have your estate plan established, then you have already done a big chunk of the work. But if you have not started one yet, then now is the right time to complete the task. However, keep in mind that once you have your estate plan in place, you will still need to update it periodically as life changes overtime. In fact, it is recommended that an estate plan is revised every three to five years, or after there has been a significant life change. We may not envision certain events happening in the future, but life is unpredictable, so when changes come our way we have to ensure that our last wish documents reflect the same.
When people talk about an estate plan, they may think of a will. But that is not the only document that may have to be written or updated. A comprehensive estate plan has various documents, including a living will, last will and testament, power of attorney, revocable living trust, and more. Other factors that you may have to consider in your estate plan are retirement plans, life insurance, and business plans. Understandably, developing a complete estate plan may seem like a daunting and complicated task.
There are specific events that may require you to make changes to your estate plan documents, such as a divorce, marriage, birth of children, the need to add or remove a beneficiary, tax law updates, and more. Family dynamics change all the time, and when this occurs, you must make sure that your estate plan properly reflects current relationships. Other reasons to review your estate plan include:
- You purchased a home
- You relocated to another state
- Your financial situation changed
- Your inheritors’ financial situation changed
- You are worried about long-term illness
- You want to add a charity organization as a beneficiary
- You want to redistribute the assets you assigned to beneficiaries
- You are entering the next stage of your life for retirement
- Your children have reached the age of 18
If you were recently divorced, then you may want to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary of your estate. Otherwise, if you don’t, then your spouse may inherit what you had last designated for him or her to receive after your death. As the team at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. explains, in the event that you were to tragically and unexpectedly lose a loved one that was a beneficiary or held another role in your estate plan, then it may be in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney.
As uncomfortable as it may feel to edit documents based on changes to your personal relationships, it’s the only way to ensure that your assets are taken care of as you would have wished after your departure. By having your estate plan documents not only written but up-to-date, it’s going to make a difference in how your legacy and assets are distributed to future generations of loved ones after you have passed on.