How Often Should I Update My Estate Plan?

Creating an estate plan is a good way to secure your family and protect their future. Most people with estate plans review them regularly. In many cases, these reviews occur as a part of a person reviewing their larger financial plan every three to five years.

However, what many people miss is that their estate plan should also be reviewed when there is a life event within their family. Being aware of the times outside of regular reviews that you should update your estate plan can help you in the future and protect your loved ones. What are some of the common triggers when you should review and update your estate plan?

When Children Join the Family

An estate plan needs to be reviewed and updated when new children are added to your family. When a new child is born, your estate plan needs to be updated. Additionally, when a child or grandchild is adopted the estate plan needs to be updated. Regardless of how the children are brought into the family, whenever a new child becomes part of your family, your estate plan needs an update.

When Children Become Adults

After the children in your family grow into adulthood you will need to review your estate plan again. Their needs will likely change as they mature and your estate plan will need to reflect these changes. When the children in your family become adults, spend time updating your estate plan to ensure it adequately addresses the new adult status of the children.

When Educational Needs Change

The educational needs of children are usually one of the primary concerns of a family. For that reason, they should be addressed in your estate plan. Initially, you may want to set aside funds to be used for higher education or to pay for extra educational activities.

As the children in your life grow older, their educational needs will evolve. Eventually, they will reach a point where they no longer need educational expenses funded. Your estate plan should account for the shifting educational needs of the children in your life. 

Sickness of a Spouse

If your spouse becomes seriously ill or disabled, then you should consider updating your estate plan to reflect their future needs. Your updated estate plan might be structured in such a way as to preserve their ability to receive government assistance. 

It can also be set up in such a way as to provide for them during a permanent illness or protracted recovery period. Any time your spouse becomes ill or if an illness is a real concern, your estate plan should be updated to account for this change in circumstances.

After Major Purchases

Buying any new major asset can change your future financial outlook, and potentially affect future bequests. Whenever you or your spouse purchase a new home, vehicle, or another large major asset then your estate plan should be updated. 

The new estate plan should include the existence of the new property along with instructions regarding who will inherit the property after your passing. Failing to include new major assets in your estate plan could create confusion or spark a disagreement in the future.

When The Executor or Trustee Changes

Naming an executor or trustee is one of the first steps in estate planning. This person will be in charge of overseeing your estate and being sure all your wishes are followed. Unfortunately, there are times when something happens to the person named as executor or trustee before you pass away. 

If the person you plan to oversee your estate dies before you do, then you should update your own estate plan immediately. Not keeping an up-to-date executor or trustee named could lead to chaos for your family during a time when stability is needed most.

David And His Team Can Help

Estate planning is something that you should not attempt to do on your own. Creating a viable estate plan that can protect your loved ones is something that should be done with the help of a qualified estate planning attorney. When the time comes to update your estate plan, David Anderson and his team can guide you in making changes to ensure that every decision you make is done legally and in such a way that protects your loved one’s inheritances. 

The team at David E. Anderson, PLLC, understands how difficult this process can be and we are ready to help provide you with the guidance that you need. Contact our offices today to schedule an initial consultation to protect your family’s future.

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