You may have had the foresight to create an estate plan already, but the work does not stop there. Effective estate planning requires occasional updates to the plan to ensure that your estate plan reflects your current wishes.
More than 70% of Americans do not have an estate plan that up to date. One of the reasons for this statistic is that many people with estate plans forget to update their plans after significant life events. Here are three major life events that may call for you to update an estate plan:
There are many ways that a family can change over the years. Birth, adoption, marriage, and divorce are all events that anyone can encounter. When an estate plan is not current with these changes, an estate’s assets may go to the decedent’s sibling rather than their spouse or child or vice versa. Even if it is possible to change this designation by contesting a will, making the rightful beneficiaries wait months or longer for the benefits they need now.
Losing a loved one is an extremely challenging time for the friends and family of the decedent. Between navigating their estate administration and any funeral needs, it can be hard to remember to update your own estate plan because of the death. If a beneficiary to your estate passes on, be sure that you adjust your estate plan accordingly.
If you undergo a considerable increase or decrease in your income, you may not find the amount you were previously planning on giving to your beneficiaries to be acceptable. Whether you want to increase or reduce what you give after your passing, now is the best time to make those changes.
Consult with an estate planning attorney
No matter what reason you have to update your estate plan, make sure you speak with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you make your estate plan current with your present wishes.