You’ve accomplished a lot in your life. You’ve worked hard to build your assets and care for your family over the years. At Pence Law Firm, P.C., we believe that estate planning is the best way to protect all that you have worked so hard to build. We also understand that circumstances change. That’s why it’s so important to us that our clients understand that estate planning isn’t just a one-and-done matter. Once a solid estate plan has been created, it needs to be updated periodically as your circumstances change. Consider these situations in which an update to your estate plan is necessary:
1. You get married.
When you are married, your spouse is the first person your assets pass to through intestate law. This may reflect your intentions or may not. If your spouse outlives you, do you want him or her to inherit all of your assets? The answer often depends on whether you have children from a previous relationship. Regardless of the details of your unique situation, marriage is a major life and should trigger you to review and adjust your estate plan.
2. You get divorced.
If your marriage ends, you will likely keep some assets while your ex keeps others. Any significant change to your assets requires a review of your estate plan. Most divorcees also choose to remove their ex as a benefactor unless they have minor children together.
3. Children and grandchildren are born.
When your family grows, you will likely want to make sure that the new members are included in your estate plan. This typically includes adding them as benefactors of trusts, among other adjustments.
4. You move to another state.
Estate planning and probate laws can vary vastly from state to state. For this reason, it is a good idea to review your plan with an attorney any time you move, to ensure that it still holds up in the state where you now reside.
5. It has been more than three years since you last updated your estate plan.
We recommend updating your estate plan at least once every three years, even if none of the above events have occurred. People change, circumstances change, and relationships change. Maybe now that your children are older, you think someone else would make a better guardian than the person currently listed if anything should happen to you. Perhaps the person you’ve named as the executor of your will is no longer able to perform these duties. An attorney can help you review your plan and make sure that it is still the best fit for you.
If you need to update your estate plan, or if you haven’t created one yet, The Pence Law Firm, P.C. is here to help. Contact us to get started.