An estate plan exists to accomplish three things.
- Preserving your accumulated wealth
- To specify who will inherit your assets after your death; and
- To indicate who will make health care and financial decisions on your behalf if you’re unable.
Real Daily’s recent article entitled “4 Good Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan” says that as you age, you should consider updating your estate plan. Why? Well, your feelings may change over time or you may experience a significant life event that requires you to update things. These are events such as a marriage or divorce, a new child or grandchild, or a significant change in your health, wealth and outlook on life.
In addition to your will and trusts, you need to review your power of attorney, healthcare directive, living will and HIPAA waiver.
It’s critical to recognize the life events that may necessitate updating your estate plan.
For example, if you are recently married or divorced, according to some state laws, existing wills are nullified when someone gets married or divorced.
It’s also possible that your wealth has increased significantly, which may affect the way you view how your assets should be distributed to your beneficiaries.
Another reason to update your plan, is if you want to give more (or less) to charity or to your heirs.
Your executor or trustees may change their minds about their roles, no longer live nearby, or they themselves have died. If an individual is no longer interested in assuming those responsibilities, no longer alive, or no longer in good health or of repute, then there is a need to revise the document.
Some other reasons to update your plan include if you’re in the process of retiring, moving to another state, or buying or selling real estate.
Each of these events calls for a comprehensive estate plan review.
Finally, your goals may evolve over the years as a result of changes to your lifestyle or circumstances, such as an inheritance, career change, marriage, house purchase, or a growing family.