Many individuals think that their estate planning is complete as soon as they have created their estate plan. However, it is important to remember that your estate plan should be updated as your life circumstances change. It is commonly stated that you should have your estate plan reviewed every few years (at a minimum), or when one of the following events occurs:
- Marriage. Don’t assume that your spouse will automatically be appointed as the executor of your estate. If you die without a will (intestate), the law of the applicable state will determine how your assets are distributed. By regularly updating your estate plan, you can ensure that the person you want to administer your estate is appointed and you can set forth how you want your estate distributed.
- Children. When you have a child (including adoption), your estate plan should be updated to include the child. An estate plan can appoint a guardian for any minor children in the event both parents die. You can also create a trust as part of your plan and dictate when and how your children will receive their inheritance.
- Divorce or death. You should review your estate plan if you get a divorce or your spouse dies to determine whether they still reflect your wishes. Most people want to name somebody other than their ex-spouse as their health care proxy, power of attorney, or as a beneficiary of your estate.
- Remarriage. If you get remarried, your estate plan should be updated to include your new spouse. This is especially important if you or your new spouse has children from prior marriages because you will want to ensure that your children are provided for as you intend.
- Retirement. When you reach retirement age, it is essential to review all of your finances, including your estate planning documents.
- Significant financial changes. If your finances undergo a significant change, especially if your estate has dramatically increased in value, it is important to update your estate plan to determine if you need to shelter assets or take action to avoid certain taxes.
The above are just a few examples of events that warrant reviewing your estate plan. If you have an existing estate plan that you have not reviewed in several years, let us help you ensure it still reflects your wishes.
The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.