Seven Life Events that Require an Estate Plan Review
“Do I need to update my estate plan when …?” is a question you might have and there are at least seven life events that require an estate plan review.
Estate planning is not one-and-done: it should continuously evolve along with your life circumstances so that it works the way you intend. No matter who you are, your life will inevitably change: families change, laws change, assets change, and goals change.
However, here are answers concerning seven life events –
1) Do I need to update my estate plan when I get married?
Marriage not only changes your relationship status, it changes your legal status. Regardless of whether it’s your first marriage or fifth, you must take the proper steps to ensure your plan properly reflects your current wishes and needs.
After getting hitched, some of your most pressing concerns include: naming your new spouse as a beneficiary on your insurance policies and retirement accounts, granting him or her medical power of attorney and/or durable power of attorney (if that’s your wish), and adding him or her to your will and/or trust.
2) Do I need to update my estate plan when I get divorced?
Since divorce can be so overwhelming, estate planning often gets overshadowed by the other changes happening. But failing to update your plan during and after divorce can have serious consequences.
Once divorce proceedings start, you’ll need to ensure your future ex is no longer eligible to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf—unless that’s your wish. To the degree allowed by the divorce proceedings, you probably want to make sure that your future ex does not receive your assets if you pass before the divorce is final. Once the divorce is finalized and your property is divided, you’ll need to adjust your planning to match your new asset profile and living situation.
3) Do I need to update my estate plan when I give birth or adopt?
Welcoming a new addition to your family can be a joyous occasion, but it also demands entirely new levels of planning and responsibility. At the top of your to-do list should be legally naming both long and short-term guardians for your child. Our Kids Protection Plan will ensure that there is a comprehensive plan for the care of your child(ren) if you are, even temporarily, unable to care for your child(ren).
In addition to naming guardians, consider putting planning vehicles, such as wills, testamentary trusts, living trusts, or retirement plan trusts, in place for your kids. This planning can make certain the assets you want your child to inherit will be passed on in the most effective and beneficial way possible for everyone involved. Consult with us to learn which planning strategies are best suited for your family.
4) Do I need to update my estate plan when a loved one dies?
The death of a family member, partner, or close friend can have major consequences for both your life and estate plan. If the person was included in your plan, you need to update it accordingly to fill any gaps his or her absence creates. From naming new beneficiaries, executors, and guardians to identifying new heirs to receive assets allocated to the deceased, make sure you address all voids the death creates as soon as possible.
5) Do I need to update my estate plan if I get seriously ill or injured?
As with death, illness and injury are an unavoidable part of being human. If you’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness or are involved in a life-changing accident, you may want to review the people you’ve chosen to handle your healthcare decisions as well as how those decisions should be made. The person you want as your healthcare proxy can change with time, so be sure your plan reflects your current wishes.
6) Do I need to update my estate plan when I relocate to a new state?
Since estate planning laws can vary from state to state, if you move to a different state, you’ll need to review and/or revise your plan to comply with your new home’s legal requirements. Some of these laws can be complex, so consult with an attorney to make sure your plan will still work exactly as you desire in your new location.
7) Do I need to update my estate plan when my assets or liabilities change significantly?
Whenever your estate’s value dramatically increases or decreases, you should revisit your plan to ensure it still offers the maximum protection and benefits for yourself and your loved ones. Whether you inherit a fortune, take out a new loan, close your business, or change your investment portfolio, your plan should be adjusted accordingly.
If you have had one of these seven life events recently and you need an estate plan review, we can help. You can begin by contacting us or by scheduling a Family Wealth Planning Session online