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When Should You Update Your Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a critical component of any financial plan. It ensures that your family is taken care of should something happen to you and that all of your assets are distributed in the manner you’ve chosen. But like all things in life, circumstances change and it’s important to keep your estate plan up-to-date. In this blog, we will discuss when and why it’s necessary to update an estate plan.

Divorce or Remarriage

If you have gone through a divorce or remarried, it’s essential that you update your estate plan. In many cases, spouses are named as beneficiaries in wills and trusts. If those circumstances change due to divorce or remarriage, it’s important to make sure everything is updated accordingly. You may also want to consider updating other documents such as powers of attorney and health care directives (living wills).

Birth of a Child

The birth of a child can be incredibly exciting but don't forget the importance of updating your estate plan! If you have not yet done so, now is the time to create a guardianship for any minor children if both parents were to pass away unexpectedly. You'll also want to adjust beneficiaries on any accounts with minor children listed as recipients in order to ensure that their interests are properly represented until they reach legal age. It's also important that any trust funds created for minor children are updated accordingly as they grow older so they can benefit from them at the appropriate time.

Change in Circumstances

Life changes occur all the time—a new job, move across the country, etc.—and those changes can have an impact on your estate planning needs. When it comes time for asset distribution after death, the state laws pertaining to intestacy will determine how assets are distributed if there is no valid will or trust in place at the time of death. As such, if there has been a significant change in circumstances since creating your original estate plan (i.e., new job/address/marital status) it’s important that these changes be reflected in an updated version of your will or trust document(s).

Update Your Estate Plan Regularly

It's important to review your estate plan regularly – ideally every few years – just like you would review any other aspect of your financial portfolio such as investments or insurance policies. By doing so, you can make sure that all relevant information about yourself and loved ones is being accurately reflected throughout all documents associated with your overall financial planning strategy, including those related to asset distribution upon death. This way you can rest assured knowing that should anything happen to you unexpectedly; everything has been taken care of appropriately according to your wishes.

When you are ready to update your estate plan, know that you can contact Family Law Group for guidance and support.

Reach our team today at (703) 552-5072 to start updating your estate plan.