There are two parts to estate planning: creating a plan and maintaining that plan. Failure to keep your plan updated can result in lost assets, wasted resources, beneficiary confusion and estate disputes.
Contrarily, an updated plan can provide your surviving family members with clear guidelines regarding your final wishes. Here are some common circumstances under which a revision of your plan can ensure its integrity and function.
Updating your plan
There are a variety of personal circumstances that could impact your estate plan. These include the following:
- You divorce your spouse
- Your family dynamics change due to birth, death or adoption
- You remarry
- You have a substantial change to your income
- You move to a new state
Divorce, for example, may change your beneficiary preferences. Leaving your estate plan unchanged may mean your former spouse can still legally collect benefits from your plan. Maintaining your plan and seeing that it reflects the changes in your life can help you control your money and guarantee your assets stay with the people you love.
Protecting your wealth
Changes that you cannot control may also impact your estate plan. Tax law modifications, for example, may impact your plan and require you to change aspects to keep things legally sound. According to U.S. News, even if you experience no jarring changes in your life, a periodic review of your plan every five to seven years can help you catch errors or identify places where clarifications could enhance your plan’s function. An attorney can help you fine-tune your plan so it can provide peace of mind for you and comfort for your family members in the years to come.