Why You Need to Periodically Update Your Estate Plan
You'll need to revisit your estate plan, specifically after major life events, and make additional changes. Learn when to update your estate plan documents.
No one likes thinking about dying, but avoiding the subject doesn't change the facts: everyone will eventually die. Create and update an estate plan is an important step in your life.
When this day arrives, you can protect your family by creating an estate plan. If you already have a will, also know as a Last Will and Testament, you're doing better than over half the population, as only 46 percent of people have wills.
Having a will isn't the only tool you need, though; you can utilize other tools, too. One vital thing to know is that you shouldn't assume that your plan will always be sufficient. After all, life changes.
That's why lawyers recommend revisiting your estate plan periodically. It is important to update your estate plan. Are you wondering why this is important? If so, read this guide to learn the top reasons updating an estate plan from time to time is so vital.
Your Marital Status Changed
Marriage changes your life, as does divorce. As a result, estate planning attorneys recommend updating your estate plan when your marital status changes.
For example, after getting married, you might want to name your spouse as your primary beneficiary. Additionally, you might want to add your spouse to your accounts and make other changes to reflect your new union.
On the other hand, it might be a good time to remove your spouse's name from your plan if you divorce them. After all, you probably don't want your ex-spouse inheriting your assets.
You Had a Child
The blessing of a child also changes things with your estate planning. With the addition of this new family member, you might have new risks to plan for and consider.
For example, you can change your plan to protect this child if anything happens to you and their other parent.
A will allows you to name a guardian for your children. You won't need this step if you currently don't have kids. Once you have kids, though, adding a guardian offers protection for your children.
You'll have someone there to raise your child if you suddenly pass away. Therefore, peace of mind is something you can have by taking the time to complete this step.
You might also want to consider financially protecting your new child through other estate planning tools, such as life insurance or changing the beneficiaries on your will or revocable living trust.
A Beneficiary Died
Life is full of unknowns and surprises, including deaths that you didn't expect. If you encounter the loss of one of your beneficiaries, now is the time to revisit your estate plan.
An estate planning attorney helps you remove beneficiaries due to death or other reasons and add different ones. You don't have to add new ones. However, you must include at least one beneficiary on your estate plan.
You Acquired New Assets
An estate planning lawyer might also suggest updating your plan when acquiring new assets. But, of course, you won't need to do this unless you obtain valuable assets.
For example, once you buy a house, you might need to change some things in your will or trust. You might also need to update it if you buy a new car, RV, gold, stocks, or other valuable items.
Changing your estate plan at this point is necessary for several reasons. First, you might need to add the items to your trust. If you don't have a trust, you might want to consider making one. If the goal of your estate planning was to avoid probate this step is even more important.
Secondly, if you don't want or have a trust, having the proper property deed is essential.
Your Financial State Changed
Your financial state might change at some point in your life. As mentioned, you might not currently have a trust. If you acquire enough wealth, though, creating a trust can be a valuable move.
Trusts protect assets and simplify the transfer of assets when you die. When you create a trust, you place your assets in it, and your family can avoid using a probate lawyer to transfer them.
You Have Different Needs
Additionally, it's important to add the right healthcare tools to your estate plan if you don't have them in place yet.
For example, do you have a living will? A living will gives directions to your family and doctors about your wishes relating to medical treatment. Do you want to be on life support? If not, you can write this in your living will.
Many younger people don't include these items in their initial estate plans. However, they're important to add as you age, primarily because your health and medical needs change as you get older.
Another tool you can add is a healthcare power of attorney (POA). Naming a person as your healthcare POA gives this person the power to make medical decisions for you if you can't make them for yourself.
You Moved to a Different State
Moving to a different state is another indication that you might need to visit an estate planning attorney. This is because each state has different laws and rules relating to estate plans.
If you move, it's vital to ensure that your plan offers the proper protection for your family and assets. The new state you move to might require different wording or tools to have the same protection you currently have.
If you just recently moved to Arizona and you have an estate plan from another estate please schedule a consultation with us, we will be pleased to offer you a free consultation to see if you need to update your estate planning portfolio.
You Want to Focus on Lowering Taxes
Additionally, revisiting your plan offers a chance to find ways to lower the estate taxes your family will pay when you die. Estate taxes are a normal part of settling an estate, but you can find ways to minimize these taxes. Citadel Law Firm attorneys are also specialized in Tax Planning and they can help you.
Update Your Estate Plan Periodically
Congratulations if you already have an estate plan! Estate plans are vital, but updating a plan is also crucial from time to time. Updating your plan gives you the chance to make the necessary changes to protect your family.
If you're interested in creating a plan or updating yours, contact Citadel Law Firm. We operate in Chandler, AZ and offer multiple locations, and can help you create the most effective estate plan possible. Call (480)565-8020 or click here to schedule your free consultation today.