If you have already written your estate plan, then you’re off to the right path. But if you have yet to create one, now is the time to start drawing one up so you have a plan in place for the future. But keep in mind that once you write your essay plan, it’s not just something you can put in your drawer and forget about. Many people don’t realize that you actually have to revisit the estate plan as life circumstances change, or an average of about every three to five years, to make sure that it reflects your current life circumstances. Here are three examples of when it’s time to edit your estate plan.
#1 Divorce or Marriage
Changes to your family can happen at any time. And if it does, you need to make sure that your estate plan reflects such changes. For instance, if you recently got separated from your spouse, then you have to make sure that your estate plan documents do not list your spouse to receive inheritance that you don’t want them to have. If you were married before, but got divorced and are now getting married again, then you have to make sure that it is your new spouse who was included in your documents, otherwise you risk your first spouse receiving assets that you may not want them to have.
When you have children, this means that your family is growing, and you may need to revisit your estate plan to make sure that your children are included and will receive assets that you want them to inherit. If you have a new spouse and they have kids from a previous relationship, then you may want to include your stepchildren in your estate plan as well. Technically, stepchildren are not automatically considered when an estate is being handled, unless they are specifically mentioned, so this means you will have to take time to add them if you wish to do so. An estate plan can include all of your children, whether they are adopted, biological, or step-children. But who you choose to have a portion of your assets after death will be based on your relationship with them.
#3 Beneficiary Changes
If there comes a point in life where you want to change who you designated as beneficiaries in the estate plan, you’ll need to do this as soon as possible. As a As a Bozeman estate planning attorney from Silverman Law Office, PLLC explains, there are many reasons why you may want to remove a beneficiary. Perhaps you had a positive relationship with a certain person at one point, but since then you’ve had a falling-out where they are not in your life anymore. Another reason to change your beneficiary designations as if a beneficiary passes away, so you have to pick a new beneficiary instead. Otherwise, it can cause problems when your estate is being handled, and can prolong the process of asset distribution.
If you have questions about your estate plan, or other related tasks, consider speaking with a lawyer near you.