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When should I update my estate plan?

Many individuals work hard to develop a comprehensive estate plan only to fail to update it after significant events. Similar to any domestic contract, the various estate planning documents should be reviewed and revised with regularity.

While people might not find the time to review a comprehensive plan every few years, it is wise to set aside time to ensure your estate plan is accurate to your current situation every time a significant life event occurs. These events can include:

  • Getting married
  • Starting a common-law relationship
  • Getting separated or getting a divorce
  • Becoming a parent

The chaos of a major life event can be overwhelming, but it is crucial to ensure your estate plan is up to date. An experienced estate lawyer can ensure no revisions are overlooked. Immediately adding a new child to your medical insurance, for example, or removing an ex-spouse as your life insurance beneficiary. Updating an estate plan might seem complex and frustrating, but with the proper guidance, you can gain peace of mind that your documents accurately reflect your current situation.

Changes to relationship status or the addition of a child to the family should trigger an estate plan document review, but numerous other types of changes warrant a revision, including:

  • Changes to a financial situation: Losing a job, gaining a job or getting a significant promotion can represent a dramatic financial change. This lifestyle change might result in alterations to a will or trust.
  • Changes to an estate trustee’s situation: If a trustee’s financial or living situation has changed, or if the trustee has passed away, it is important to ensure your documents reflect these changes.
  • Adding or removing beneficiaries: It is likely that a will should be altered numerous times to account for both changing wealth and changing relationships. It is not uncommon that individuals will want to either add or remove beneficiaries.

Discuss your goals and significant life changes with an experienced estate lawyer to ensure your documents are accurate.

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