Estate planning, it’s a one and done thing, right? Well, actually, the answer to that question is no. Estate planning is not always everyone’s favorite subject, and thinking about plans after your passing can be hard. However, it’s important to know that your estate plan functions as a living document, and it may need to be changed or updated. Life is constantly changing, and as your life progresses you may have new children, business, changes in family dynamic, etc that you will need to update in your estate plan with your attorney. Here are some changes to your estate that you should know and always update.
Changes in Family and Personal Relationships
Human relationships are complicated, and though we don’t like it, they are sometimes subject to change. For example, sometimes a sister that you were once really close to was a part of your estate plan or even made guardian to your children, but something happened that you are now estranged from her. Divorce is also a major change in your personal life that would alter your feelings and decisions regarding your estate plan. Or, on a positive note, a once estranged sister becomes closer in your life and you would like to include her into your estate plan now. The bottom line is that as your relationships change, your estate plan likely and should change with you to ensure that your wishes are met after your passing.
Changes to your Financial Situation
Some financial changes to be aware of include:
- Substantial changes in your assets (stocks, real estate investments, crypto or intellectual property investments)
- New businesses you have started
- Receiving a significant inheritance (or sometimes, winning the lottery; it does happen!)
- Financial challenges (ie) loss of income, etc.
Your estate plan needs to reflect your current financial situation in order for your executor and trustees to properly distribute assets after your passing. Additionally, if your financial situation has improved, you may have more that you want to give to family, friends, or charities.
Changes in the Law
Having an estate planning attorney in your contacts is especially useful for when the law changes. It may not happen often, but when it does your estate plan definitely should be updated and reviewed to make sure that your distributions and assets are treated according to the law and still within your wishes. For example, tax law may change and how your assets are set up may affect your estate’s taxes, or probate laws may have changed that have new requirements for estate plans. In any case, having a reliable and knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you navigate these legal changes and keep your estate plan up-to-date.
By reviewing and updating your plan regularly, you can protect your assets, provide for your loved ones, and ensure that your wishes are upheld. Consult with Windrose Law Center to speak with an experienced estate planning professional who can guide you through the process and help you make the necessary adjustments to your estate plan. With a well-maintained estate plan, you can have peace of mind knowing that your legacy will be protected and preserved according to your desires