Creating an estate plan at any stage of life can provide you with peace of mind. However, if you created your plan in a different stage of your life, that plan might not reflect your relationships, your wishes and your goals today. Because of the many changes that can occur over the years, it is important to periodically revisit your plan and adjust its terms.
Why might you want to revisit your estate plan?
Generally, you should review your estate plan after significant life changes, including:
- Relocation — Your estate plan should reflect the laws in your state of residence. If you relocate to a different state, you should review and update your estate plan to ensure that your plan remains valid in your new location.
- Changes in your marital status — A person’s spouse often inherits a significant portion of their estate. If you marry or divorce, you want to ensure that your plan reflects that new relationship. In cases of remarriage, you may also want to update your plan to protect the inheritance of your children from a previous relationship.
- Changes in your relationships — If you welcome new members into your family or are no longer as close to your loved one as you once were, you may want to update the assets they will receive. It is especially important to update your plan if your relationship with your personal representative changes and you no longer have confidence that they can or will carry out your wishes.
- Changes in your financial status — If the value of some of your assets have changed or your income has changed significantly, you may want to adjust your financial plan to address those changes. For example, you may want to incorporate a trust into your estate plan if you have experienced a financial windfall.
Even if you have not experienced one of these life changes, your goals for estate planning may change over time. Because of this, you may want to revisit your plan every few years to ensure that it is still a good fit.
An estate plan can offer peace of mind, and updating that plan can provide you with confidence that your plan truly reflects your wishes and provides for those you care about most.