Plans we make for the future may sound great at the time but don’t always hold up a few years down the line. Estate planning is no different. An estate plan you may have created a five or ten years ago may now be completely obsolete – with outdated information, beneficiaries you no longer speak with, or wishes you no longer have.
Keeping an updated estate plan is crucial to ensure that your desires are followed at the time of your death. If you have an old estate plan lying around, you might want to consider giving it a second look, especially if you have gone through a major life change.
Marriage or divorce
Many people leave their assets to a spouse after they pass. You may have done the same thing in the past, but recently gotten divorced. Now would be a good time to update your estate plan and remove an old spouse.
Likewise, if you got married or even remarried, you may want to add your new spouse to your estate plan to ensure they receive the property you leave behind.
Every state has separate rules about estate planning. If you moved to another state since you last created your estate plan, you should consider revising your plan, so it follows the laws of your new home state.
Purchase of large assets
Substantial assets such as a new home or a business should be a part of your estate plan. If you have bought any such property in recent years, you should update your estate plan to include them as well as deciding who the assets will pass onto in the future.
Updating an executor, power of attorney, or trustee
Estate plans often include a variety of additional information such as an executor, who is responsible for handling your estate after you pass; a power of attorney, who handles health or financial decisions if you are incapacitated; and a trustee, the recipient of a trust you created.
If any of these individuals have died, moved to another state or country, or are no longer capable of performing the duties assigned to them, you should revise your estate plan and name someone new for the responsible role.
Contact a lawyer
Estate planning can be a challenging process, especially if you haven’t updated your plan for a long time. If you need significant revision to your plan, consulting with an experienced lawyer can make it a lot easier.
Your estate plan should adequately reflect your wishes for the future, and an outdated plan can cause complications for your family. Stay up to date by regularly reviewing your estate plan after a serious change in your life.