When should you update your estate plan?

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Carl S. Goode |

Most Americans don’t have an estate plan, so if you have already created one, you understand the importance of having arrangements in place and providing for your loved ones if you die or become incapacitated.

But it is not something that only needs to be done once and placed in a file. Throughout your lifetime, there are several milestones that indicate you should review your estate plan

Marriage or divorce

Both of these events can impact your estate plan. You may want to add your new spouse as a beneficiary, or if you are divorcing, you will want to remove your ex-spouse from your will and if you had named them a power of attorney.

Addition of a child

If you give birth to or adopt a child, you will want to ensure their future security by updating your plan to set up a trust or name a guardian if something happens to you.

Someone’s death

You will need to make changes to your documents if a beneficiary or the estate’s executor passes away.

Significant changes in finances

Receiving a large inheritance, starting a business and acquiring property are reasons you may want to review and update your plan.

Changes in regulations

Estate and tax laws are frequently changing. To protect your family’s legacy, you will want to see how these changes will affect your plan.

Periodic reviews

Reviewing your plan every 3-5 years is a good idea to ensure it still reflects your wishes. You may have changed your mind regarding your remains. For example, since you created your plan, you may have decided you would rather be cremated than buried.

Even though you have created your estate plan, it’s important to remember that sometimes, having an outdated plan is almost as bad as having none at all. Be sure to review it regularly to ensure that it reflects all of life’s changes.

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