Have you taken the time to set up your estate plan? If you said yes, congrats! If you haven’t done this yet, there’s no time like the present. In case you are not aware, an estate plan is basically a legal document that states what happens when you either become ill and incapacitated or after your death. We understand this is a topic that many people do not like to think about. However, it is a very important task no one should put off.
Reasons to Review Your Estate Plan
You may have thought when you created your estate plan that it was a one-time process. You wouldn’t be alone in thinking this. Yet, there are so many reasons why you should review your estate plan regularly. A few of those reasons are due to events that happen in your life. Some are due to events that happen to others or the constantly changing laws.
One of the reasons you will want to review your estate plan is whenever there is a life-changing event that affects you. Whether it is a positive event, negative event, or any event in between, you should get your estate plan out to see if any changes need to be made.
The most common events in your life could include:
- Birth of Child
- Moving to Another State
- Changing Homes
- Purchasing a Second Home
Events that happen to other people in your life can be another reason to review your estate plan. When your children get married, or divorced for that matter, it can change what is listed in your estate plan. Grandchildren arriving may need to be added and a relative that died may need to be removed. Even a spouse becoming incapacitated can mean major changes to an estate plan.
Another reason why you may want to change your estate is you have changed your mind when it comes to decisions you have made in the past. Maybe the person you chose to look after your children if something happened to you is no longer the person you would choose today. Maybe you originally wanted your best friend to get your treasured heirlooms, but you haven’t spoken to them in years. You have now decided those items are going to someone else. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind, as long as you make those changes in your estate plan.
The last reason you should review your estate plan regularly is the constantly changing laws. We say constantly, but honestly, we are talking about proposed laws that may or may not go into effect. There is no way you can possibly keep track of all of these laws unless you are a lawyer yourself. So, we recommend having your lawyer review your estate plan for you every couple of years, to ensure new laws have not necessitated any changes.
Whenever a life-changing event occurs, no matter how minor, it should be an important reminder to review your estate plan. A will or trust can easily be updated with the changes instead of having an entire new document created. However, any power of attorney, whether for health care or financial matters, and living wills will need new documents if there are any changes.
If you haven’t reviewed your estate plan recently, or do not have one, consider adding this task to your list of things to do today. Then, contact our office to set up a consultation to check this important task off of your to-do list.