When you finally sit down with an attorney and create an estate plan, you feel relieved you have completed this very important task. You now know that if you pass away unexpectedly, you have determined who will receive your assets. You have made plan for the unexpected with a living will and appointed financial and health care power of attorneys. But once you create an estate plan, is there a time when you should revisit it?
Here are seven circumstances when you should revisit your estate plan:
- You divorce or remarry. You may want to ensure your ex-spouse doesn’t receive any of your assets or ensure your children from a first marriage receive specific assets if you remarry.
- You move to another state. Each state has its own probate and estate tax laws, so you may want to change your estate plan to fit the rules in your new state better.
- You become a parent or grandparent. If you become a parent, you want to name a guardian for your child in your estate plan. If you become a grandparent, you may want to designate specific assets for your grandchildren to receive.
- Your spouse dies. When your spouse passes away, you want to update your estate plan. Maybe your spouse was your designated health care power of attorney or financial power of attorney. You’ll have to appoint someone else to those roles.
- You have a child who struggles with substance abuse. You may want to create a trust for a child who struggles with substance abuse. You could name a third party to oversee the trust, to distribute funds to your child only to cover specific expenses so you avoid allowing your child to use their inheritance to fuel their addiction.
- You change your mind about your end-of-life care wishes. As you age, you may decide you don’t want doctors to perform life-saving measures if your heart fails or you stop breathing. You then may want to update your health care directive.
- You want to name a new executor for your estate. Maybe your children are now adults and you want one of them to now serve as your estate executor. Or you had an executor named, but that person now has died. You want to update that in your will.
Once you retire, you may want to consider updating your estate plan every five years. As you get older, your life circumstances often change and you may want to change your estate plan with your attorney’s help accordingly.