6 times you need to update your estate plan

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Getting your estate plans in order is a major milestone for a lot of people. In fact, only about 33% of people in this country ever get around to it – so you’re already ahead of the game.

However, an estate plan should never be something that you create, tuck in a drawer and forget about. It needs to be reviewed every few years to make sure that it still accomplishes your goals – and certain life events should automatically trigger revisions. These include:

1. You have a major life event

Significant life changes such as marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child or the death of a loved one can have profound implications for your estate plan. You may need to change beneficiaries, reallocate the division of your assets, designate guardians and more.

2. You move to a new state.

If you move to a new state, it’s essential to review your estate plan right away. Estate planning laws vary from state to state, so your will may no longer be valid after you move.

3. Your health drastically changes.

Serious illness, disability or generally declining health can impact your estate planning needs, including decisions regarding health care directives, powers of attorney and long-term care provisions. 

4. You’re concerned about changes in taxation.

Tax laws are subject to frequent revisions, which can affect your estate planning strategies, including estate tax, gift tax and generation-skipping transfer tax implications. 

5. Your interpersonal relationships change.

Changes in relationships or circumstances may prompt revisions to your chosen beneficiaries. Whether due to marriage, divorce, estrangement, or new additions to the family, ensure your beneficiaries are accurately reflected in your estate plan to avoid unintended consequences.

6. You start a business.

If you own a business, it’s essential to integrate succession planning into your estate plan. Changes in business structure, ownership or leadership may necessitate updates to your plan to ensure a smooth transition of assets and responsibilities.

If it’s time (or past time) to revise your estate plan, consider seeking informed legal guidance. You may be surprised at the number of options you have to accomplish your goals.

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