You’ve met with an attorney. You have written a will, and you may have established a trust, power of attorney or a living will to support your estate plan. That estate plan can give you peace of mind now, but you will also need to revisit it in the future.
Many experts recommend revisiting your will every five years, but there are other reasons to revise your estate plan. By updating your plan after major life events, you can ensure that your estate plan reflects your family, your life and your wishes as they are now rather than as they were when you initially wrote your will.
Have you moved to Texas?
While you are updating your address after you have moved to a new state, you should also take a look at your estate plan. Because inheritance laws vary by state, your documents will need to be reviewed to ensure that it complies with Texas state laws.
Have you come into money?
If you have received a significant inheritance, if you have recently sold valuable property or if your private business has had an increase in profits, you should update your estate plan to reflect that. Your new wealth may require you to revise how you want your assets distributed.
You may also want to consider new documents to handle this new wealth. Establishing a Power of Attorney so that someone you trust will manage your finances if you are incapacitated, for example, can help give you peace of mind. Establishing a trust, on the other hand, can help minimize the tax burden experienced by your loved ones.
Have you experienced financial challenges?
Just as you should update your estate plan when you find yourself in a much more secure financial situation, you should also update your plan if your budget has grown tighter.
Have your relationships changed?
Marriage can both bring major changes to your life, and your estate plan should change with them. If you are celebrating your marriage, you may want to update the beneficiaries in your will and establish a Power of Attorney so that your spouse can make important decisions if you are incapacitated.
If your marriage has ended through divorce, on the other hand, you may want to remove your ex and your in-laws from your estate plan. This is especially true if you granted your ex-spouse power of attorney.
Has your family grown?
Have you welcomed a new child into your family? Your estate plan should reflect that. Not only should you update your beneficiaries and update the wording of a trust if it did not include your new child, you should also consider naming a guardian for your children if you and your spouse should pass away before they reach adulthood. These plans are key ways to protect and provide for your children in the future.
Has someone you love passed away?
If you have lost a loved one, the grief can be consuming. However, it is important to update your estate plan if you listed them as a beneficiary or designated them as your authority in a power of attorney.
Have you faced health challenges?
If you have a living will that was established at a different time in your life, it may not reflect your wishes now. Review your healthcare directive and update it as needed to ensure that it is relevant to your current wishes and your current health situation.
Updating your estate plan may seem daunting, but it is the best way to protect your wishes and your loved ones throughout life’s challenges and changes.