Making an estate plan is a great first step. Most people have never done it. Just writing a will puts you ahead of the majority, and you will be more prepared for what the future holds.
However, you do not want to neglect the estate plan after you make it. This usually isn’t something that you can just forget about, trusting the document to address everything if you pass away. It needs to be updated to ensure that it is current. When should you do this?
When beneficiaries change
First of all, beneficiaries may change through marriage, divorce, birth or death. If a beneficiary passes away or you want to remove them from the estate plan for another reason – such as if they got divorced from one of your children – then you need to update the plan. You may also want to update that plan when grandchildren are born.
When finances change
Much of estate planning does focus on the financial picture, passing tangible assets or monetary assets to the next generation. If there are significant changes, then the estate plan should be updated to match. Examples of these changes include selling a business, selling a house, getting an inheritance from your parents, winning the lottery, retiring from your career and much more.
When your health changes
Finally, if you are given a serious medical diagnosis, then it’s important to update the estate plan. Perhaps you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you want to make these updates quickly while you still have testamentary capacity. Or perhaps you want to use a medical power of attorney or a living will to make healthcare decisions in advance.
For all of this and more, there are estate planning tools you can utilize. Take the time to carefully consider what steps to take and when to update your plan.