If you already have an estate plan, you are off to a good start. Estate plans ensure that your assets are distributed to the beneficiaries that you choose. It is important to update your estate plan when your life changes, in order to reflect your new wishes.
Changes in your family
If you get married or divorced, it is important that your estate plan reflects this change. Not only do you have a spouse to add or remove, but you may also now have step-children you want to be added to your will. If you forget to remove an ex-spouse from your estate plan, they may inherit some of your estate.
You may want to update your estate plan based on changes to your extended family. For instance, the addition of a new grandchild may be a delightful reason to revise your estate plan.
On the other hand, the death of a beneficiary may require a redistribution of assets. Or, if a beneficiary struggles with addiction or money management, you may want to add a provision to your will that keeps them from spending too much too fast.
Changes in wealth
If your wealth or assets change significantly, your estate plan will need to be revised to properly reflect the changes. The acquisition of a vacation home or a new car may be cause to update your estate plan.
Conversely, significant debt or stock loss may merit a redistribution of wealth. If the only asset you left your son was your business, and your business has since gone bankrupt, you may want to redistribute your remaining wealth among all your children so that your son isn’t left empty-handed.
Additional things to consider
Make sure that no family circumstances, financial changes or adjustments in legal statutes require you to make revisions. If you are moving to another state, you will have to update your estate plan. Each state has its own regulations, make sure your estate plan is honored in your state. Finally, don’t forget about your pet. Include who will take care of your bed pet before it’s too late.
An updated will makes it much easier for the beneficiaries to follow your wishes and reduces stress for your family. Without a proper will, state laws will determine what happens to your assets. You have worked hard so that your loved ones can benefit, make sure your will accurately reflects your wishes.