You might breathe a sigh of relief once you’ve created your estate plan, and you may feel like your affairs are in order once those estate planning documents have been finalized. While a thorough estate plan should provide you and your estate with the protection that you want and need, estate planning is a living process. By that we mean that your estate plan should change as your life changes. Only by staying on top of your estate plan and modifying it when needed can you ensure that your assets will be distributed as you see fit when the time comes.
Reasons to modify your estate plan
Figuring out when to make changes to your estate plan can be difficult. That’s why far too many people end up neglecting their estate plan to their own detriment. Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, if any of the following issues come up, you might want to start thinking about modifying your estate plan:
- Births and deaths: If you don’t take these events into account when looking at your estate plan, you could unintentionally leave loved ones without an inheritance, or your assets may fall into the wrong hands. A newly born grandchild, for example, may be left out unless you specify in your estate planning documents that you want them to inherit something. This will require a modification.
- Marriages and divorces: If your child gets divorced, neglecting to change your estate plan could result in some of your assets being distributed to a former spouse who is no longer part of your family. If you want to avoid that outcome, you’re going to have to revisit your estate plan and change it accordingly.
- Acquisition of new assets: Although your estate plan may have some sweeping terms that include all assets, you might want to consider addressing larger assets specifically once they’re acquired. This can provide clarity, prevent familial fighting and ensure that the asset will be disposed of as you see fit.
- Changed relationships: If you have a falling out with a loved one and you no longer want them to inherit from you, you’re going to have to specify that in your estate plan. Neglecting to do so may result in assets falling into the wrong hands.
- You no longer trust a named trustee or executor: If you’ve named specific individuals to manage your estate once you’re gone, you may find yourself wanting to make changes if you suspect that you can no longer trust those individuals to act in the best interests of the estate and your named beneficiaries.
- Changed goals: You should have identified goals when you embark on the estate-planning process. However, if your priorities change, so should your estate plan.
There may be other events that warrant modification to your existing estate plan. That’s why it’s beneficial to revisit your legal documents from time to time to ensure that they still suit your needs and are targeted at bringing your vision of the future into reality.
Do you need a helping hand?
We know that staying on top of your estate plan can be challenging when you’ve got so many other things going on in your life. But a legal professional would like to help alleviate the burden of creating, tracking and changing your estate plan as needed.
So, if you want to secure some assistance in dealing with your estate plan, you might want to talk to an experienced estate planning attorney about what it is that you want from your estate plan. Therefore, now may be the best time for you to reach out to one of these legal teams to discuss your circumstances and learn more about what you can do to protect your estate and your loved ones.