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When to Update Your Arizona Estate Plan

by | May 16, 2024 | Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys, Updating your Estate Plan

Life is rarely static. We experience milestones, both big and small, that shape our families, finances, and priorities. An Arizona estate plan, while designed to ensure your wishes are carried out after you’re gone, should also be a living document that reflects these changes. Here’s a look at some key life events that necessitate revisiting your estate plan:

  • Marriage and Divorce: Marriage significantly impacts your estate, especially in Arizona which is a community property state. Your spouse typically becomes your primary beneficiary, and assets may become commingled. Conversely, divorce necessitates removing your ex-spouse from beneficiary designations and potentially revising asset distribution plans.
  • Birth, Adoption, or Grandchildren: The arrival of new family members is a joyous occasion. However, it also necessitates updating your estate plan to include these individuals. Consider naming guardians for minor children and allocating inheritance portions. If you have a living trust, we can plan for future distributions for children and grandchildren based upon their age, or whatever contingency you’d like to plan for.
  • Death of a Beneficiary or Fiduciary: If a designated beneficiary or someone named to handle your affairs (executor/personal representative or trustee) predeceases you, it’s vital to update your plan. While we typically include backup options, you may want to update your list of trusted individuals anyway. 
  • Health Concerns: A serious illness or diagnosis may necessitate establishing healthcare directives like a living will or power of attorney for healthcare. These documents specify your wishes for medical care in the event you are unable to make decisions yourself.
  • Changes in Residency: Estate and inheritance laws vary by state. If you move to a new state, you should have a local attorney review your estate plan for compliance with the laws of your new state. 

 

Regularly Scheduled Reviews

Even without major life changes, it’s wise to schedule regular reviews of your estate plan. We suggest reviewing your estate plan with an attorney every 3-5 years. This allows for a general review of your assets, beneficiaries, and trustees/personal representatives. If you have taxable estate, it also allows for reviewing your tax strategies.

Benefits of Updating Your Estate Plan

Taking the time to update your Arizona estate plan ensures your wishes are carried out accurately and efficiently. Here are some key benefits:

  • Reduced Family Conflict: A clear and up-to-date plan minimizes the risk of misunderstandings and disputes among beneficiaries during an already difficult time.
  • Improved Efficiency: An outdated plan can lead to delays and incur unnecessary legal fees during probate.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your estate is in order provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
Taking Action: Consult Our Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys

Updating your estate plan doesn’t have to be a complex or daunting process. At Windrose Law Center, our Arizona estate planning attorneys can guide you through the review process, address your specific circumstances, and ensure your plan reflects your current wishes. Don’t wait for a major life event – take charge of your future and protect your loved ones by scheduling a free 30 minute consultation with our estate planning attorneys today!

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