Estate planning is the process of anticipating one’s death and ensuring their assets are distributed to the testator’s wishes. Many people make estate plans and never update them. But, estate planning is a lifelong process that may need to be altered.
There are a few reasons someone would need to alter their estate plans. Here’s why:
1. It’s been three years (or longer)
The general consensus is that estate plans should be updated every several years. Some people may update their plans yearly to include large investments. But, it should be enough for people to make changes to their plans every two to three years.
2. You’ve gone through a divorce
People commonly alter their estate plans to include their newlywed spouse. Testators may name their spouse as heirs, powers of attorney, executors of the estate and child guardians. This way testators know that someone close and trusted has the right to manage these important matters. During a divorce, however, many people forget they should alter their estate plans to remove their ex-spouse.
3. You’ve had children (or more children)
Bringing life into the world is one of the greatest things people can do. Maybe the next best thing is making sure a child’s future is ready for their success. An estate plan may need to be altered to include a child guardian in the event that the testator and the child’s other parent suffer a fatal accident. Or, the testator may create a trust to help their child enter college or start a successful career.
4. An heir passed away
Unfortunately, many people outlive their children or other heirs. When an heir passes away, an estate plan may need to be amended so that assets they were meant to inherit are given to someone else.
Are you considering updating your estate plans? Then you may need to reach out for legal help and learn about your options.