The Essential Times to Review Your Estate Plan

Posted on: 1 May 2024


Estate planning is not a one-time affair. Life’s inevitable changes mean your estate plan should be a living document, one that reflects your current circumstances and wishes. Here are several critical instances when it's imperative to review your estate plan to ensure it still aligns with your goals and legal requirements.

After Major Life Events

Marriage or Divorce

A change in marital status is a significant life event that necessitates a review of your estate plan. For newlyweds, it's crucial to update your plan to include your spouse in your will, trust, or as a beneficiary on retirement accounts and insurance policies. Conversely, divorce should prompt you to remove your ex-spouse from these documents, reflecting your current wishes.

Birth or Adoption of a Child

The arrival of a new family member is a joyous occasion that also calls for an update to your estate plan. You'll want to ensure your child is aptly provided for in your will, possibly through a trust, and designate a guardian who will take responsibility for your child if both parents are unavailable.

Relocation to a Different State or Country

Moving can affect your estate plan substantially, especially if your new home has different laws governing estates, inheritance, and taxes. It’s vital to consult with an estate planning professional in your new location to make necessary adjustments and ensure compliance with local laws.

Changes in the Law

Tax laws, estate laws, and regulations concerning trusts and inheritances can change. Such legal shifts could significantly impact the effectiveness of your current estate plan. Staying informed about these changes, often with the help of an estate planning attorney, can guide you on when updates are needed to maximize benefits or minimize taxes for your heirs.

Significant Changes in Asset Value

A substantial increase or decrease in the value of your assets is another signal to examine your estate plan. Whether it’s due to the sale of a business, inheritance, market fluctuations, or other investments, adjusting your plan ensures your assets are distributed according to your current wishes and might also offer new opportunities for tax planning.

Health Changes

Changes in your health or the health of a beneficiary can have profound implications for your estate plan. Such changes might necessitate adjusting how your assets will be managed or distributed. For instance, creating a special needs trust may become necessary if a beneficiary becomes disabled, ensuring they are taken care of without endangering their eligibility for public assistance.

Regular review and updates to your estate plan ensure that your wishes are accurately reflected and legally sound, protecting you, your assets, and your loved ones. Consider making a review an annual task or tying it to significant life events to ensure your estate plan evolves with you through the years.

Contact a firm like Evergreen Family Law Group, PLLC to learn more.