“How Often Should You Update Your Estate Plan?” by Attorney Victor A. Lembo (Audio)
When you have created a will, trust, or otherwise made an estate plan, your plan needs to be periodically updated in order to ensure that it is still an accurate reflection of what you hope will happen after you pass away. There are many changes that will occur over the course of your life, and as your situation changes, you need to make sure you have updated your estate plan.
Wills and trusts are basic and important estate planning documents. They can be used to provide comprehensive instructions to ensure your legacy is protected. Also, they can help avoid your family from fighting over assets, and provide clear instructions for who will be in charge of winding up your estate. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can help you determine when an estate plan update may be necessary.
Some common situations which can necessitate an update include the following:
- Giving birth to or adopting a child
- A new grandchild
- A child or grandchild becoming an adult, or a child or grandchild requiring funding to take advantage of educational opportunities.
- The person who was named in a will as a guardian for minor children experiences a change in circumstances that necessitate selecting a new guardian for kids.
- The number of dependents who you are responsible for providing care to changes.
- Marriage or divorce occurs.
- A spouse becomes ill or becomes disabled.
- A new large asset, such as a new piece of real estate, is purchased.
- New liabilities are taken on, such as a new large loan.
- Investments or other assets substantially increasing or decreasing in value.
- Receiving a large gift or large inheritance for either you or your spouse.
- A change in any state or federal laws related to investments, property, or taxes.
- A family member experiencing a disabling condition, becoming ill, or passing away.
- The executor having a change in circumstances or the death of your executor.
- A change in your career situation, such as starting a brand new business, closing an existing family business, receiving a promotion, or getting a new job.
It is very important that you follow the correct process to revoke or amend your estate plan. Otherwise, if something happens to you before you make your updates, your existing document will likely be enforced and your current wishes likely will not be honored. A qualified estate planning attorney will ensure that your documents are updated legally and meet your planning goals.
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