Many clients have an estate plan in place - but for these documents to really serve the purposes they were created for they sometimes need to be updated as life circumstances change and time marches on.
Periodically reviewing your plan estate plan ensures it accurately reflects your current life plan - both your present needs and your goals going forward. Make sure you review and update your estate plan if your personal or financial situation changes or if a number of years have gone by and for instance your minor children now have children of their own.
Some of the most important triggers for updating your estate plan include:
Divorce. Once your divorce is finalized, your plan should be revised as quickly as possible to reflect your current situation. In addition, you can take steps to protect your heirs from potential future relationships that might impact their legacy unintentionally.
Re-Marriage. If you and your new spouse both have children from a previous marriage or relationship, working with an estate planning attorney is essential to navigate the complexities of providing for the children of both parents.
Birth or Adoption of Children. In addition to providing for your children’s financial future, any good estate plan will also allow you to appoint a legal guardian (both for finances and physical care) in the event you and your spouse die or are incapacitated. The guardian designation should be updated as needed depending on circumstances and should always reflect the best interests of the child/children NOW.
Illness or Injury. If you or one of your family members becomes seriously ill, you may want to consider changing your plan to reflect increased needs and or the creation of trusts for special needs, etc.
Changes in Tax Laws. Tax laws are constantly changing and can dramatically affect your estate plan. An estate lawyer can help ensure that your plan takes advantage of new legislation and makes sure you have a viable, current asset protection plan in place so that your estate avoids taxes as much as possible.
Inheritance. If you receive a large inheritance, this could shift your estate planning considerably. The increased value of your estate may cause you to change how your assets are distributed upon your death, as you might want or need to add trusts for your beneficiaries and or more charitable contributions or both.
These are just a few examples of when a meeting with your estate planning attorney is in order to make sure your estate plan meets your life plan. I am happy to discuss my client's current plans with them any time they feel the need for such a review: and always available to review a new client's "old plan" as part of my complimentary initial consultation.