Your estate plan is powerful. It not only dictates how your assets will be distributed once you pass away but it also lays out your vision for the future and works to bring your goals into reality. But your initial estate plan is only going to go so far. If you want to ensure that your estate plan continues to work for you as time goes on, you’ll need to revisit it from time to time to ensure that it’s adequately updated. If you don’t, you might be setting your loved ones up for confusion, infighting, and long-term heartache.
When do you need to modify your estate plan?
Best practice is to revisit your estate plan on a yearly basis. This way, you can double check that it still suits your needs. But you should also take another look at your estate plan to see if it needs modification when major life events occur. This can include each of the following:
- Divorce: If your marriage comes to an end, you’ll want to make sure that you remove your ex-spouse from your estate plan, otherwise they may end up with a large chunk of your estate’s assets. You should also consider modifying your estate plan if your loved ones end up getting divorced, and for the same reason.
- Marriage: Your new marriage or a loved one’s marriage is a good reason to revisit your estate plan so that you can add the new spouse into the plan. This will ensure that they’re taken care of in the event that you or your loved one pass away before the new spouse.
- Deaths: Neglecting to remove deceased individuals from your estate plan can leave your assets subject to intestate succession. This could direct your assets to be distributed in a way that you otherwise would’ve seen as contrary to your wishes.
- Births: The birth of a child or grandchild should trigger you to modify your estate plan to ensure that they’re looped into your asset distribution scheme as you see fit.
- Soured relationships: A lot of people have a falling out with someone who they initially named as an heir or beneficiary in their estate plan. If you find yourself in that situation, you might want to consider removing that individual from your estate plan so that your asset distribution occurs as you want it to.
- The acquisition of a new asset: Your initial estate plan might be drafted in such a way that captures all of your newly acquired assets, but if you want to protect your estate as much as possible, it might be a good idea to address major assets on an individual basis. That way, there’s no doubt as to how those assets will be distributed when the time comes.
- Move to a new state: Each state has its own laws pertaining to estate planning. If you move to a new state but don’t update your estate plan, you risk your legal documents being found invalid because they fail to conform to state law. Therefore, if you’ve relocated to Texas, it’s time to take another look at your estate plan.
Make sure you have the robust estate plan that you need
You’ve worked hard to accumulate your wealth. And you want to do everything you can to leave a legacy for your loved ones. Although that might take some time, work and preparation, it’s not something that you have to try to navigate on your own and hope for the best. Instead, you can work closely with a legal team that knows what you need to do to position your estate and your loved ones for success.
If you want to learn more about what estate planning can do for you and how to go about creating the comprehensive estate plan that you want and need, now might be the best time for you to reach out to a legal team that you think is right for you.