Some people find estate planning to be a stressful endeavor. As such, they are relieved once they have a plan in place that adequately protects their assets and their loved ones when the time comes. Yet, estate planning is a process, not an end goal. This is because as life changes, so, too, should your estate plan. If you neglect to modify your estate plan to reflect your current wishes for the future, then you put your assets at risk of falling into the possession of someone whom you never intended to inherit.
When should I modify my estate plan?
There are a lot of life events that can justify an estate plan modification. Remarrying, for example, will likely require you to make changes to your estate plan if you hope to ensure that your children from another marriage inherit what you want them to inherit. Otherwise you put a lot of faith in your new spouse to take care of your children from another marriage after you pass away. This is because your spouse will automatically inherit 50% of your estate if you don’t have a valid estate plan. Also, if you want to adequately provide for your step-children then you should be sure to include them in your estate plan, otherwise they will likely be left out of an initial distribution of assets.
Here are some other reasons you might want to consider changing your estate plan:
- Death of an heir or beneficiary
- The birth of a child or grandchild
- Divorce, either your own or an heir or beneficiary’s
- Changed family relationships
- Changed need for identified beneficiaries and heirs
- You’ve acquired new assets
- You simply want to reallocate your assets upon your death
Create an estate plan that is right for you
Regardless of your situation, there’s an estate plan that is right for you. However, you really should revisit your estate plan regularly so that you can ensure that it is working for you, your assets, and your loved ones. By speaking to an attorney, you might be able to learn more about how to modify your estate plan appropriately under your circumstances.