After creating their estate plan, most people just want to put their documents out of sight and out of mind. Unfortunately, this isn’t a wise move. There are countless reasons you will need to review and update your estate plan over the years.
When it comes to estate plans, a good rule of thumb is that if your plan is over three years old, it’s probably time to sit down and review it. However, certain significant life events, whether positive or negative, will also usually warrant immediate revisions to your plan. Here are a few common life changes in which updating your estate plan may be necessary:
1. Marriage or divorce
Whether you marry your partner or part ways with them, any significant changes to your marital status will likely call for revisions to your estate plan. You should review your documents as soon as possible to include your new spouse in your plan or remove your ex-spouse to ensure your wishes are up to date.
You don’t have to marry your partner to add them to your estate plan. But if you aren’t legally married, your partner may not get anything from your estate in the event of your death. Adding your partner to your estate plan will ensure your partner isn’t left out of your estate.
2. New children
Any new additions to your family will likely warrant a new estate plan. For example, if you have a new baby, you’ll want to make sure you name a legal guardian immediately in the event something happens to you and your spouse.
If you remarry and have stepchildren, you’ll need to name them as beneficiaries if you wish to include them in your estate plan. If you want to disinherit a specific child, you’ll also need to update your estate plan.
3. Changes to beneficiaries
Adding or removing beneficiaries is another common reason people will opt to update their estate plan. If you no longer wish to include someone in your estate plan or they have passed away since you wrote your plan, you’ll need to reflect these changes across all of the documents in your estate portfolio.
If you pass away before getting a chance to update your documents, there’s no guarantee your loved ones will get what you want for them. Having an up-to-date estate plan is one of the best ways to give yourself and your loved one’s peace of mind.