When should I update my estate plan?

On behalf of O’Brien, Barton & Hopkins PLLP posted in estate planning on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

An estate plan is a valuable legal tool that helps to better ensure your assets are distributed in line with your wishes. Unfortunately, a failure to update these documents can mean your assets go to unintended beneficiaries.

How can I know when I should update my estate plan? A recent piece in Forbes discusses the need to update estate planning documents, noting the following common triggers:

  • Divorce. One example is divorce. Not every asset will be impacted by a divorce decree. As a result, an ex-spouse could benefit from your assets. A second, similar event that triggers a review is remarriage.
  • Health. Any changes in health should also signal a review. This could include episodes of good health, such as the birth of a child, or bad, such as a serious accident or illness that results in an injury to you or a loved one.
  • Inheritance. The gift of an inheritance can increase the value of an estate. This could result in a shift in how you wish for assets to be dispersed. Take a moment to review the plan and update as needed.

How do I update my estate plan? In some cases, updating documents is as simple as reviewing beneficiary designations and changing a name. In others, it can be more complex.

As a result, it is wise for those who are going through this process to seek legal counsel. An attorney can better ensure your entire estate plan is current. This would likely include a discussion of how a change in laws could impact your plan.

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