When I meet with clients to draft their estate planning documents, they often ask about reasons they may need to update their planning in the future. It is important to remember that estate planning is not a one and done process. Over your lifetime, there could be changes in your family or assets and even changes in the law that could trigger you to make updates to your legal documents. I am going to go through common scenarios that may or may not require an update to your documents.
- I have a new child.
- You should absolutely update your documents! Make sure that new child is included in the plan and taken care of as a beneficiary. You will also need to consider naming a guardian for that child in the event that something happens to you.
- I bought a new house.
- Many estate planning documents divide assets by percentages. In this scenario, it doesn’t matter if you have 10 dollars or 10 million dollars, or if you have one house or 10 homes, everything is divided in percentages. However, if your plan specifically provides for your house, or you want to specifically provide for the new house, you may need to update the documents.
- Someone in my documents changed their name.
- Are they still the same person? Are there any other changes? If the only change is the person’s name, such as your daughter changing her last name once she weds, it is not necessary to amend the documents as long as they can show they are the same person.
- I moved out of state.
- Trusts and Wills are pretty uniform state to state. However, Power of Attorney documents can be very state specific. It is a good idea to have your plan reviewed by a local attorney to make sure your estate plan will work in that new state.
- Someone in my life passed away or is sick.
- If that person is named in your documents, you will likely need to review how that impacts your plan and make any adjustments.
- The laws have changed.
- It depends on the type of law change. I recommend to clients that they check in every 3-5 years to ensure compliance with any changes in the law. Some aspects of estate planning have been around for centuries, and others seem to change every few years.
If your life has been impacted by any of the changes above, or any other reason you think you may need to update your estate plan, please contact us today.
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