If you are like many people, your life has probably changed a lot since you wrote your will. To make sure your estate plan still reflects your wishes, you may need to review your plan.
Has your financial situation changed?
Significant changes in your finances will change the contents of your estate, and you should review your plan to ensure that it still suits your needs. If you face financial challenges, for example, you may want to update your estate plan to reflect that tightened budget.
If you inherit a large amount of money or experience a significant increase in your income, on the other hand, you may need a new estate planning strategy to address that wealth. This new strategy may involve providing for more beneficiaries, naming additional assets specifically in your will, or establishing trusts to decrease the amount your loved ones will pay in estate taxes.
Has your family changed?
If your family changes, you may want to review your plan to ensure that your loved ones are listed as beneficiaries. After your marriage, you may want to establish a power of attorney to allow your spouse to make major medical or financial decisions on your behalf. After divorce, on the other hand, you may want to remove your ex as a beneficiary and name a new power of attorney.
Providing for the rest of your family also depends on updating your documents. Welcoming new children into your family should involve naming a guardian for them and naming them as a beneficiary. Losing a loved one, on the other hand, often means naming a new agent in your power of attorney and removing them from your will.
Do you have new healthcare needs?
An accident or diagnosis can seriously impact your life, and your estate plan should prepare for the challenges that a health condition can bring. Establishing a healthcare directive can make your wishes known in an emergency, and naming a trusted friend or loved one as your agent in a power of attorney will allow them to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated by your condition.
Have you moved to a new state?
Moving to a new state is a major change in your life. While you update your address, get a new driver’s license and find your place in a new community, you should also update your estate plan. Every state’s laws are different, and the documents you prepared in your previous state may not be valid in your new home.
Has it been some time since you wrote your plan?
You may not have experienced significant changes in your life, but it could still be important to review your estate plan to ensure that it still reflects your life and your goals. Reviewing your estate plan every few years—some experts recommend every three years—will ensure that your estate plan still suits your needs and reflects your wishes.