Keeping Your Estate Plan Current Is the Best Way to Protect Your Family
Keeping your estate planning documents updated is important if you want to be certain that your family is protected in the event of your death. Any life events that could affect your estate plan should be addressed immediately.
In addition, any changes to the law or to your personal, medical, or financial status can ruin even the best estate plan if not properly addressed. A good rule of thumb is to have your attorney review your estate planning documents every few years. There are, however, other changes or life events that might cause you to review your estate planning documents immediately. These include:
- Changes in your family, such as marriage, divorce, new children, or grandchildren;
- Changes in your career or professional life, such as purchasing or creating a business, becoming a partner in a business, dissolving a business, changing jobs or careers;
- Change in residence, especially if you move to another state;
- Death, disability, or illness of a family member;
- Children or grandchildren turning 18 or graduating from college;
- Changes in the number of dependents you have because you provide the care for an elderly parent or adult child;
- Significant increases or decreases in the value of your assets due to factors such as stock market activity, changes in salary or compensation, changes in how your assets are valued;
- Anticipating that one of your relatives or heirs will disagree with your wishes and may challenge your will;
- Borrowing or lending a substantial amount of money;
- Taking on significant amounts of debt or other liabilities;
- Receiving a large inheritance, bequest, or gift;
- Changes in your life insurance coverage;
- Changes in federal or state laws;
- Changes in life situations of those you have named as a trustee, guardian, or executor;
- Significant changes to your or your spouse’s health;
- Changes in your or your family’s wishes and goals.
There are, as this list indicates, a great number of things which could impact your estate plan. If any of these events occurs, you should not hesitate to consult your attorney. If you stay in touch with your estate planning attorney, you can rest easy that your plan will continue to function as you intend.