There are important things every adult should have, and that includes an estate plan. Those who take the time to complete planning for end-of-life or long-term care, asset distribution and decision-making authority are doing a valuable service to themselves and their loved ones. As such, creating your own estate plan can be critical.
Once you create your plan, you can put it away and may not have to think about it for quite a while. However, there are times when you will want to go back to your plan and update it.
Events that can send you back to your plan
When you experience changes in your life, those changes can affect the decisions you made in your original estate plan. As such, revisit your plan after:
- The birth of a child or grandchild
- The death of a spouse, child or another beneficiary
- Getting married
- Getting divorced
- Buying or selling property
- Estrangements or reconciliations with family members
- Changes in your medical needs
- Shifts in your religious or cultural beliefs
- Experiencing significant financial gains or losses
- Several years have passed since you created it
After these and other events, you could have different goals or wishes than when you first created your estate plan.
What if I don’t update an estate plan?
An outdated estate plan can present a number of problems, from unintended beneficiaries receiving property to people you no longer have a relationship with making decisions for you. Your loved ones could wind up in a bitter battle to contest the will, dealing with strained relations and financial losses.
To avoid these problems, you should update your will following the events we mentioned above. If you have questions or concerns about changes in the laws or how to ensure the document remains valid, you can consult an attorney.