When to Update Your Estate Plan

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Life moves faster than we realize. One moment, you’re starting your first job, and the next, you’re meeting your first grandchild. As your life changes, it’s important to update your estate plan.

There are some major events that should trigger estate plan changes—but it doesn’t hurt to review your estate plan outside of those circumstances. Not all relationships stand the test of time. Sometimes our loved ones named as beneficiaries pass on before we do. Occasionally, our financial circumstances change so drastically that your current plan may not account for all your assets, or it distributes assets that no longer exist.

Here are the times you should consider updating your wills, trusts and other documents.

  • When you get your first job: When you get your first job, you’re probably not planning on dying anytime soon—but you should at least plan for who has medical and financial power of attorney on your behalf. Military personnel often do this ahead of deployment, but it’s good advice for everyone.
  • When you get married: Getting married changes your order of succession—at least as far as it comes to intestacy laws—so you should update your plan to reflect these new changes. Be sure you and your spouse appoint each other as powers of attorney. Should you get divorced, you should update your estate plan accordingly.
  • When you have kids: Children similarly change your priorities. You’ll also want to name a guardian in case you and your spouse both die while your children are minors.
  • When you retire: By the time you reach retirement age, you’ll probably have acquired several major assets. Your children may be adults at this point, with children of their own. You may wish to update your estate plan to benefit your children and grandchildren. It’s also a good idea to review plans periodically, in case beneficiaries have predeceased you or the relationships have ended. You should also plan for the cost of long-term care, if necessary.
  • When your financial circumstances change: Win the lottery? Lose your house? After the dust settles, update your estate plan to reflect your new change in circumstances.

With periodic review, you can rest assured that your estate plan will provide for your loved ones. For  estate planning assistance, call the attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein today.

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