Once you create an estate plan, you may feel great peace of mind that you have accomplished this underappreciated, yet essential part of planning for the future. If you are a parent with younger children, you might not think about your estate plan again for years. Yet perhaps 15 years later, you wonder if you should update your estate plan. Are there certain circumstances when you should revisit your estate plan and revise it?
As your life changes, you may need to update your estate plan. Some of the circumstances when updating your estate plan may be necessary include:
- If you have divorced or plan to remarry. You may want to designate your assets to different beneficiaries or ensure your children from a first marriage receive specific assets.
- You become a grandparent and want to allocate specific assets to your grandchildren in your will.
- Your designated estate executor dies and you want to name someone else to administer your estate. Or you need to name a new person to serve as your power of attorney or health care advocate.
- Your spouse dies and you want to change how you distribute your assets.
- You want to change the beneficiaries of your assets or give some of your assets to a charity or nonprofit organization.
- If your spouse becomes incapacitated or disabled, you may want to establish a trust to care for their needs if you die and name a guardian to make decisions about their care if you pass away.
- You receive a large inheritance and want to establish a trust for those assets or designate specific beneficiaries for them.
- You change your mind about your end-of-life care and want to update your health care directive.
As you enter your retirement years and grow older, you may need to revisit your estate plan every five years. You want to make sure your estate plan reflects your current wishes and you may need to work with an estate planning attorney on your asset management. You want to do all you can to minimize any tax burden your beneficiaries may face when they receive your assets and make the probate process as smooth as possible for them after your passing.