Is your Estate Plan up-to-date?

Photo by MOHD AZRIN

Keeping your Estate plan up-to-date

It’s important to have an estate plan (or at least a Last Will) that works for your current situation. Therefore, it’s wise to review and update your documents regularly. This way you make sure that your estate plan is up-to-date.

Most people feel their estate plan is complete when they sign a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, and Living Will. However, you should revisit your estate plan as your needs change over time.

Updating your estate plan ensures that it reflects your current wishes. You should update your estate plan when you have major life changes, laws change, or if your plan doesn’t reflect what you want now.

Has your family or household changed over the past year?

If you’ve experienced a major change in your family situation since you prepared your estate plan, or you’re due for an update anyway, there’s probably something you can do to make sure your estate plan is still effective.

You got married

In some states, a marriage invalidates a will written before the marriage, while in others the old will stands – even if your new spouse is not mentioned. Regardless, since a marriage is most probably going to change your estate plan, you need to make the necessary adjustments.

Planning for children

You should consider including your children, stepchildren, and grandchildren in your will. You may want to name guardians for your children or set up a trust to manage their inheritance until they reach a certain age.

Myend believes in the importance of family values and we want that to be present in our services. And our Last Will reflects that with two extensive articles, dedicated to your children’s trust and guardians.

Recently separated

Most people name their spouse as their estate beneficiary, but in the event of a divorce, this designation may not hold up. To avoid confusion and hassle, get a new estate plan and change your beneficiary designations.

If you’re getting divorced review and update your healthcare designations and general powers of attorney.

Who should you name in your estate planning documents?

If you’ve named people to serve as power of attorney, executor, or trustee in your current estate plan, check on their willingness and the continuing ability of anyone named to carry out that role.

Remember to review your beneficiary designations for life insurance policies, pensions, and retirement accounts and update them if necessary.

Have you recently moved to a different state/country?

​​If you have relocated to a new state since creating your estate plan, your last will and testament and powers of attorney should still be effective in your new state. However, you still have many reasons to update your estate plan.

Because your new state may have different laws about probate and estate taxes, you’ll want to take those into account before moving. Financial institutions and healthcare providers may be more willing to accept an executor or power of attorney who lives in your state.

Similar issues apply in case you move abroad. If it’s only for a couple of months you probably don’t need to change your estate plans. But if you moved abroad permanently or for an indefinite amount of time you need to consider local laws. And that usually applies both for estate distribution and medical directives.

Has anything changed in your life that impacts your wealth?

If you have more wealth now than you had in the past, it may be time to consider changes in your estate plan. You may benefit from establishing a revocable living trust to help manage estate taxes, avoid probate, provide for children, and plan for long-term care.

Have you started a business recently?

If you don’t plan for the future of your small business, you could leave your heirs and business partners in a chaotic situation. Succession planning for small business owners often includes a buy-sell agreement with partners, life insurance, and/or plans for children or other family members to take over the business.

How often should you make sure your estate plan is up-to-date?

Have you reviewed your estate plan in the last five years?

It’s a good idea to review your estate plan with an estate planning lawyer every five years, or sooner if you have any significant life changes, like a new marriage or kid. Tax laws and estate planning laws can change at any time, so it’s important to keep your estate plan up-to-date.

Final Thoughts

As you age, you may need to adjust your estate planning goals and needs. For instance, you may not think about long-term care in your 30s, but it may be important for you in your 60s.

Myend premium allows you to generate, store and customize all the documents needed for an elaborate estate plan. You can also easily keep all your data and wishes updated, just with a simple log in. Estate planning has ever been easier.

Disclaimer

Myend is not a law firm, it does not engage in the practice of law, and it does not render any official legal advice. Therefore, you are hereby advised to seek your own legal counsel regarding any legal issues. Myend’s articles are meant to be taken as suggestions and therefore Myend carries no responsibility for the user’s actions.