Everyone knows that it is important to have a solid estate plan in place. What many people forget it that this process doesn’t end just because an attorney designs an estate plan for you. That is just the beginning. An estate plan must be updated regularly to reflect your current lifestyle. Anytime there is a change in your financial or personnel situation you should work with your attorney to update your estate plan.
- Divorce/Separation: Once you become legally separated or divorced it is crucial to update your estate plan to reflect your new goals and ideals. It is also a time to reflect on the future. Take into account that an influx of relationships end in divorce. This is a great time to input provisions in your estate plan to protect your heirs against potential changes in their own marriages.
- Re-Marriage: There are many complex situations involved when couples remarry. This is especially true when both partners have children from previous relationships. An estate planning attorney can help navigate the complexities of providing for a blended family.
- Birth/Adoption of Children: Your estate plan should have in place provisions for your children’s future financially. An estate plan should also provide a detailed plan for the children’s care should you and your spouse die or become incapacitated. A guardian should be appointed to support your children into adulthood.
- Illness/Injury: Your estate plan needs to be kept updated for when you or a family member becomes seriously ill. The needs for your care or their care have changed and this change should be reflected in an updated estate plan. It is also important to include a plan and appoint a power or attorney of health care for your own needs. You will want someone to be in charge of your decisions if you become unable to do so yourself.
- Tax Law Changes: With constant changes to the economy that affect certain tax laws it is crucial that your estate plan reflects these changes appropriately. The updates to tax laws can dramatically affect your estate. An attorney specializing in estate planning will help you make changes in your plan that coincides with the new legislation that is in place.
- Inheritance: With an increase to the value of your estate comes a need to change how your assets are passed to those you love when are deceased.
It is important to keep your estate plan up to date on a regular basis. Review your plan with your estate attorney to ensure it is always up to date and in line with the manner in which you intend to distribute your assets when your death occurs.